Easts claim top four grades against Sydney

19-Feb-2018

One door closed and another opened for Easts Dolphins on a weekend of mixed emotions as Sydney Premier Cricket reaches the pointy end of the season.

On Sunday, Easts were knocked out of the Limited-Overs competition in the semi-finals by Parramatta a day after keeping destiny in their own hands for the two-day competition with a win over fellow finals aspirants Sydney at Waverley Oval.

Defending 369 from day one, Easts made crucial incisions early on day two, with Ian Moran backing up his 68 with three top order wickets that set Sydney back to 4-64 in the morning session.

Easts knew the job wasn’t done as wickets in the afternoon session have been hard to come by all season on flat wickets, and that proved the case again as Sydney launched a counter-attack through former NSW player Dan Smith. He hammered a run-a-ball half century but once that stand was broken, Easts were through the top order. 

As the the seamers became less effective in the afternoon, leg-spinner Jack Preddey stepped up to the plate, taking 4-59 to chip through the lower order.

And despite the Dolphins putting down six catches throughout the day, Sydney were always kept at arms length as they were eventually dismissed for 291, moving Easts into equal 6th on the ladder with two rounds remaining.

The good cheer didn’t last long however, with Sunday’s semi-final against Parramatta not yielding a comparable performance.

After being sent in, Easts were bowled out for just 165 in the 41st over with only Moran (52) passing 50. Nic Maddinson, who was the star of the quarter-finals couldn’t repeat his heroics and was dismissed for just 1 in the second over.

The Dolphins picked up two early wickets in reply to reduce Parramatta to 2-21 but that was the last moment of hope they would have as an unbeaten 148-run stand for the third wicket easily took the hosts past Easts’ below par score.

The focus now shifts fully to the two-day campaign with Easts taking on Parramatta again this Saturday, this time in a bid to move into the top four on the ladder.

Second Grade entered day two behind in the game, but secured a dominant first innings victory thanks to a five wicket haul from Jono Smith.

Udit Mehta's maiden Grade century formed a significant chunk of Easts' total of 220 at Trumper and with the defending premiers 2-65 at stumps - Easts had it all to do on day two.

But a burst from Smith changed the game as he took the first four wickets to fall when play recommenced as Sydney were reduced to 9-101. A late flurry took the visitors up to 140 but Ryan O'Bierne's two wickets completed the demolition job. Skipper Nathan Rowe was a contributor as always, taking 3-29 off an economical 19 overs.

Mark Morely produced a special innings to give his team the edge in their crucial top six battle at Birchgrove. He smashed 173 off 152 balls which included seven sixes that helped Easts post 300 on a tricky wicket.

On day two, Sydney had made a solid start at 1-89 until leg-spinner Tim Brown completely swung the game with a 14-over spell either side of tea. Brown took 6-42 and ripped a hole through the middle order which resulted in Sydney being dismissed for 165. The win has Easts in 6th position, six points clear of seventh ahead of their clash against front-runners Parramatta.

Fourth Grade's hopes of playing finals are over but they showed what could have been with a trouncing win over the defending premiers. In a remarkable turnaround, Easts recovered from 5-43 through a 155-run partnership between captain Sam Powell (100) and Alex Tunnadine (74).

It was Powell's first grade century and it came off just 116 balls, while Tunnadine's knock was off 89 balls and included five sixes. The pace of the partnership allowing Easts to declare 7-329 after just 64 overs.

While 0-33 overnight, Sydney never threatened to chase the total on day two with Harry Brooks the main destroyer taking 4-31. Powell added to his century with 2-17 off six overs.

Fifth Grade couldn't manage a clean sweep for Easts, their total of 124 proved too tough an ask to defend. Two torn hamstrings didn't help the situation in the field. Jackson Coutts and David Dunne took two wickets each as Sydney wobbled to 7-98 but they eventually surpassed the target.

In Sixth Grade, Chaitanya Madala top scored with 29 as Easts were dismissed for just 101. Three wickets each to Satish Kala and Corey De Wit were part of a determined fielding performance but it wasn't enough as Randwick-Petersham made 152 in reply.

The second innings didn't get better for Easts as they were bundled out for just 70, before Randy-Petes took the full 10 points with 10 wickets in hand. Easts remain in third position on the ladder.


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