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Green Shield make finals...

Manoj Weerasingham sunk the Whales with a magnificent 124 Captain’s knock at Grahame Thomas Oval. The stylish run getter was indomitable and delighted the crowd with his vast array of strokes. He plundered 6 boundaries and 2 stunning sixes in his 157-minute vigil at the crease.

All of the Bankstown Sports Bulldogs Premier Grade matches were washed out on Saturday 18 January but the holiday period has seen some stellar performances from the AW Green Shield Under 16 team that has represented the City of Canterbury-Bankstown with distinction throughout the Christmas and New Year period. Undoubtedly the most prestigious aged based cricket competition in Australia, the AW Green Shield is considered by many judges as the toughest junior competition in the world and this year’s squad has delivered some amazing performances to reach the finals. In Round 6 on 14th January, Bankstown played Mosman at Grahame Thomas Oval. The Bulldogs batted beautifully to post 7-301 which is a huge total for Under 16 players. Arnav Raina was in excellent form at the top of the order with a classy 72. He rattled the pickets 12 times with excellent drives powerful pull shots and square cuts. As good as his innings was, he had to play second fiddle to a rampaging Manoj Weerasingham who sunk the Whales with a magnificent Captain’s knock of 124. The stylish run getter was indomitable and delighted the crowd with his vast array of strokes plundering 6 boundaries and 2 stunning sixes in his 157-minute vigil at the crease. Lachlan Malcolm continued his good form with a quickfire 41 which contained 5 elegant boundaries. It was an entertaining hour at the crease by a promising cricketer. The Bulldogs took the field with plenty of confidence but the Whales fought back defiantly. It appeared the visitors were home and hosed at 7-300 but amazingly three run outs enabled the barking Bulldogs to win the game. Tom Lynch took two wickets as did Hayden Ferguson. The Bankstown fielding produced four run outs all told. That man Weerasingham claimed the first, then Raina together with Malcolm the second. The last two wickets were claimed by the combination of Rahid Alam and Hayden Ferguson to produce the amazing finish. In Round 7 on 16th January the AW Green Shield continued on their winning way with a decisive victory over the Uni of NSW Bumble Bees at David Phillips South. Uni started with a confident opening stand of 67. However, Ilyaan Raza and the consistent Lachlan Malcolm combined with 3 wickets apiece as the Bees took flight. Raza was on target with a magnificent 10 over spell in which he claimed 3-26. He was accuracy personified and put the brakes on the Bees who never recovered. Malcolm also claimed 3 wickets to ensure there was no fight back as the home side reached 8-218. Arnav Raina once again was at the top of his game and he plundered a dashing 94 entertaining the crowd with 7 boundaries and 2 stunning sixes and his progress will be followed very closely. Weerasingham is having a wonderful series and his 29 was crucial whilst Ryan Freeman had another magnificent game with a defiant 35. They finished with 6-219 in the last over of the match. The lads are making parents very nervous with two last ditch victories in succession. AW Green Shield Qualifying Final v Manly. Sunday 19th January. In the Green Shield qualifying final at Manly on Sunday the Bulldogs restricted the home side to a competitive 9-209. Ever reliable Ryan Freeman was once again on target with 2-26 whilst Lachlan Malcolm claimed 2-15 in his probing 5 over spell. However, the bowling honours went to Hayden Ferguson with a containing 3-50 which kept the Bulldogs barking. Ferguson claimed the crucial wickets of both openers just as they appeared ready to cut loose with a 90-run partnership and also took care of the dangerous wicketkeeper batsmen Blake McCarten for a duck. In reply the Bulldogs Ethan Prideaux was in good touch with a stylish 24 at the top of the order and Aryan Totade looked in fine fettle but alas was run out for a very classy 38. Wickets tumbled and Manly were jubilant at 8-142 but were celebrating prematurely. Even the most ardent of Bulldog supporters conceded the lads had fought hard but the task looked beyond them needing a gargantuan 8 runs an over with just 2 wickets in hand. Rahid Alam and Liam Hewitt produced a formidable partnership against all odds. Alam was the aggressor and smashed two stunning sixes in a match winning 47 not out facing a mere 32 deliveries in a delightful cameo which stunned the shell-shocked Manly attack. The Seasiders tried desperately to dislodge the rampaging Alam, but it was all in vain as he stayed rock solid. The very versatile youngster received phenomenal support from paceman Liam Hewitt who defended stoically with a determined 22 not out. His defiance and fighting attitude facing such adversity was most commendable. The belligerent Bulldogs barking rang out jubilantly as they raced to 8-213 and a semi-final berth against Easts at Waverley Oval on Tuesday. What an amazing victory it was.

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