First Grade suffer first loss in run feast at Caringbah

Easts Dolphins suffered their first loss of the season in a run feast two day encounter against Sutherland at Glenn McGrath Oval in Caringbah.

After the Dolphins declared their first innings at 7-399 on day one, the Sharks dug their way out of a middle order collapse to surpass the total with two wickets to spare.

The 400-run target appeared achievable right from the first hour of the day, when the Sharks openers launched an assault on Easts’ new ball bowlers, racing to 100 inside 22 overs.

However, one wicket brought two for the Dolphins as Sam Doggett went bang bang to steady Easts’ nerves.

The Sharks went to lunch on 2-131 but the interval proved a good reset for the Dolphins as off-spinner Will Somerville (4-86) took two quick wickets, which was followed by another from Jason Ralston (1-56). So with Sutherland 5-160 chasing 400, all looked on track for Easts to maintain their unbeaten run.

But wickets have been hard to come by all season on the flat wickets in First Grade and Luke Hawkesworth (119*) and Daniel Rixon (86) dug in to produce a 168-run stand for the sixth wicket.

Not helping Easts’ cause was a series of dropped catches, which ultimately proved the difference in the game.

Even when Jack Preddey (1-20) found the breakthrough, Sutherland were 6-328, still needing 72 more to win. But the breakthrough did not stem the flow of runs.

As a cruel tease, Somerville took two wickets in two balls with Sutherland needing just two runs to win but it came too late as the Sharks claimed the six points.

It was an unhappy weekend for First Grade as they had little time to recover before their T20 clash in Newcastle on Sunday morning. Missing a number of regular faces, Easts conceded 171 from 20 overs and were always behind in the chase and were restricted to 9-140 in reply. 

Second Grade
registered their first win of the season accounting for Sutherland outright by eight wickets at Waverley Oval. On day one, Sutherland won the toss and elected to bat and despite an early platform, were dismissed for 206 just before tea, with Ryan O’Beirne 3/45, Will Lawrence 3/7 and Tom Skelly 2/79 sharing the spoils. Easts finished the day at 3/152 with Peter Lazarus not out on 56.
After overnight rain, the conditions on day two changed the outlook of the game, giving the Sutherland bowlers an opportunity to bring themselves back into the game on a bowler friendly wicket. When Lazarus departed for 68, it bought about a middle order collapse as the Dolphins lost 5/22. With two wickets left and 18 runs still required, experienced keeper Sam Mullens and skipper Nathan Rowe guided the Dolphins home for first innings points. Easts eventually declared eight runs in front.
When Sutherland batted again, they also found the conditions tough and quickly fell to 3/12 and then 5/44, to eventually be bowled out for 97 as Ryan O’Beirne backed up his first innings efforts with 3/36. Bruno Broughton also chipped in with 3/16 and Tom Skelly 2/22. Easts made light work of the required total, reeling in the 90 runs required in 20 overs with only the loss of two wickets.
Easts have moved up to 14th spot and have now given themselves an opportunity to keep pushing for a top six position leading into Xmas.
Third Grade outclassed Sutherland at Sutherland Oval. Losing the toss, Sutherland had no hesitation in batting first on a flat wicket, but sustained pressure from both ends throughout the home sides innings restricted Sutherland to an under par 140. Udit Mehta claimed 4/33, with support from Angus Palmer 2/16 and Jono Smith 2/22. With 12 overs remaining in the day, Rueben Taucher 44, illustrated how flat the wicket was, dominating the Sutherland attack as Easts raced to 1/62 at stumps.
After overnight rain and a delayed start, with Easts requiring another 79 runs, the Dolphins crawled to the required total on a difficult wicket. At one stage Easts fell to 5/90 and the game was for the taking for the home side, but Mark Morley and Ollie Maxwell steadied the ship as Easts passed the total six down and eventually declared at tea, 26 runs in front. With 39 overs remaining, Easts threw everything they could at Sutherland and at 3/0 an outright looked achievable. Mark Morley claimed 4/26 as time ran out for the Dolphins with Sutherland getting to safety, finishing 7/90 when time was called.
Easts now sit in 8th position, equal with 6th place on points.

Fourth Grade's cruised to a six-wicket win thanks to Michael Quinn's maiden Grade century. He led Easts past Sutherland's total of 215 with more than 20 overs remaining on the second day. On day one, Steve Lewis' four wickets helped set-up the win as Easts made the most of seamer friendly conditions in the first hour. The result moves Fourth Grade up to 12th on the ladder.

Fifth Grade were batted out of their rain affected contest at Tonkin Oval. Despite losing 12 overs due to rain on day two, Sutherland batted on to 8-266 before declaring after 87 overs. Naveed Chowdhury was the pick of the bowlers with 2-27 off 17 overs. Easts had only 59 overs to reach their target and with more rain interrupting it made playing out for the point was the only option and they did this successfully. Terry Mystakas made 66 not out as Easts were 6-165 when play was abandoned.

Sixth Grade accounted for UNSW Gold at David Phillips South in a high scoring match. On day one UNSW batted first reaching 276 as they were bowled out right on stumps. Charlie Smyth 3/61 and Mitch Clayton 3/50 were the chief wicket takers with support from Gabe Joseph who claimed 2/32.

The Dolphins made light work of the UNSW total on day two requiring just 54 overs, as Nikshep Mekala produced an amazing innings of 182 off 143 balls, which included 21 boundaries and seven 6’s. He was supported by Harry Wells 48 and Tom Abbot 42 not out as the game was eventually called with the Dolphins finishing 4/300 after Mekala was dismissed.

The Metro Cup side now sits in 5th position still with a game to play from a previous round.

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