ROUND 1 V NORTHS
In a sensational start to the season the Bankstown Sports Bulldogs prevailed by one run in a thriller at Bankstown Memorial Oval. Bankstown got away to a flyer with opening batsmen Nick Carruthers and Daniel Solway compiling a 55 run opening stand. Carruthers was the first to go with a punishing 41 which included two stunning sixes. He hit a sharp chance back to the bowler which was gleefully accepted. Solway followed shortly after when he attempted a pull shot from a short delivery but only succeeded in chopping the ball into the stumps. Newcomer Jake Fawcett added 19 but it was versatile all-rounder Mitch Brown who held the Bankstown batting together. He plundered 79 and drove confidently to keep the Dion Bourne Scoreboard ticking over relentlessly. Brown held the Bankstown batting together and his cheeky running between the wickets was exemplary proving a valuable knock and enabled the Bulldogs to post 227, which was short of the Bankstown expectations. The score however gave the bowlers something to defend in idyllic conditions. The only other batsmen to seriously trouble the Bears attack was promising Peter Dignam the grandson of Margaret and Eris Dignam. In a usually elegant knock he compiled 36 runs which proved decisive. The Bears openers looked good with an opening stand of 66 but an extraordinary spell by Revesby local Ben Le Bas turned the match around, disposing of the two North Sydney top scorers and finishing with 3-29 from his ten match winning overs. Left arm spinner Ben Taylor also captured 3 wickets to tighten the Bulldogs grip on the match. Super speedster Brad Simpson took two wickets near the end and then pulled off the master stroke with a run out which snared the 10th wicket and left the Bears tantalisingly close with 226. Nick Carruthers completed a fine day with some brilliant wicket keeping claiming three catches and a stumping and kept the fielders on their toes with his enthusiasm. Next the Bulldogs take on arch enemies St. George on the 5th and 12th of October at Bankstown Memorial at 10.30a.m.
Bankstown proved disappointing at Tunks Park compiling just 9-204. In reply the Bears posted a commanding 6-206 to take the points. The frustrating fact for the Bulldogs was that so many batsmen got a start but did not post the really big score needed. Zeeshaan Ahmed was unfortunately run out for 38 and newcomer Daniel Nicotra was trapped LBW for 29. Mitchell Hinds had his stumps disturbed for a quality 39 whilst Joel Brockley added 16 with Cameron Middleton also 16. Skipper Tony Clark joined in with 26 but the Bulldogs struggled to post a reasonable total. At least the captain has the satisfaction of knowing the talent is there but just needs to be harvested. With the ball debutant Matt Bursa took the honours with 3-29 whilst lively Dayne Heward claimed 2-43.
The Bears batted first and struggled to cobble together 8-142. In another thrilling finish Bankstown battled away to narrowly take the points with 8-144. Jacob Malcolm burst through the Bears top order and claimed four of the first five wickets to fall. He thoroughly deserved the accolades he received for his devastating spell. Playing his first game Justin Felsch was the epitome of accuracy with 2-26 from 10 excellent overs and was always right on target. Daniel Slane was just as economical and finished with the fine figures of 2-17 which pinned down the Bears at a crucial time. Ironically it was bowlers Felsch and Malcolm who wielded the willow so effectively for the Bulldogs. Justin Felsch savaged the Bears with a fighting 30 whilst Jacob Malcolm showed his all-round class with 23 not out.
The Bulldogs batted first at Punchbowl Oval and posted 8-193 in good conditions. Daniyal Khan ripped into the Bears with a delightful 51 off just 40 balls. He hammered 4 boundaries and 2 imposing sixes which got the Bulldogs barking vociferously. Skipper Alex Kouventaris again led the way with a powerful 49 which put some sting into the middle order. Opener Ethan Prideaux was patience personified and his defiant 23 placated the Bears attack. Evergreen Mat Kelly finished with the bowling honours claiming 3-20 in his incisive 9 over spell. Anthony Melnyk was right on target with 2-32 from his 10 probing overs whilst Ryan Freeman mopped up the lower order and the Bears could only claw their way to 154.
Bankstown’s 149 at Grahame Thomas was nowhere near enough as the Bears cruised to 3-151. Rob Lenard was the only Bulldog batsmen to seriously trouble the scorers. He fought hard for his 28 but received little support from the rest of the side. Seven Bulldogs scored double figures but it was very disappointing that none went on with the job.