Easts kick-off the season with win over Northern Districts


Easts Dolphins made the most of a full strength line-up to open the Premier Cricket season with an impressive eight-wicket win over Northern Districts at Mark Taylor Oval.

The Dolphins had no less than five NSW Blues players, with Peter Nevill, Nic Maddinson, Will Sommerville, Harry Conway and Henry Thornton all available for the one-day clash ahead of their commitments in the upcoming JLT Cup.

Set an imposing target of 277 to win in 50 overs it was former Sydney Sixers player Ian Moran who upstaged them all, smashing an unbeaten 113 off 94 balls as the Dolphins eased past the target with five overs to spare.

On a day where bat dominated ball, it was the contributions of Sommerville (0-25 off 10) and Conway (0-41 off 10) that made the difference, as they helped put the breaks on Northern Districts who at one stage looked set to post over 300.

As it proved, off-spinner Sommerville out-bowled Australia's Test spinner Nathan Lyon, who took some early punishment from Blues teammate Nic Maddinson in his figures of 0-49 off ten overs.

Maddinson's early onslaught of 49 off 39 balls helped take the required run-rate sting out of the chase, with his opening parter Nevill a more than steady hand at the other end in a 83-run opening stand.

But Moran simply picked up where Maddinson left off, smashing 13 boundaries and a six as he shared in 50-plus partnerships with Nevill (62) and captain Greg Clarence (38*).

The Dolphins next face UNSW at Waverley Oval, but will be without the services of Nevill, Maddinson and Conway who have been selected in NSW's JLT Cup squad. 

In Second Grade, half centuries to 18-year-old Will Simpson (57) and Peter Lazarus (51) were two of few highlights for the Dolphins as NDs cruised to a 91-run win. On a slow Waverley wicket, the Rangers posted 6-254 with Jonathan Smith the pick of the bowlers with 2-36. In reply, the Easts chase never got into gear as they were dismissed for 163.

Half-centuries to the Coles brothers were the only bright spots in Third and Fourth Grade. Andy made 57 out of 3rd's 150, while Matt made 59 in 4th's 4-211. In both Grades however Northern Districts were too good with the bat, winning by eight and nine wickets respectively.

Perhaps the story of the day came in Fifth Grade, with 15-year-old Joel Canceri smashing 82 off 66 balls to help the Dolphins to a four-wicket win. Jackson Coutts (3-20) had helped dismiss ND's for 150 and the Dolphins managed to recover from 5-70 thanks to Caneri to seal a round one win.

In Sixth Grade, an unbeaten 72 from Mitchell Clayton helped Easts chase down a tricky target of 175 against Mosman by five wickets.

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