Sydney Premier Cricket Round 1 - Easts Dolphins vs Manly Warringah

First Grade
The Dolphins didn’t get their season off to the start they wanted against a strong Manly side in round 1 of the NSW Premier cricket season. With Manly also fielding their representative players including Australian and NSW left arm spinner Stephen O’Keefe, Easts knew they were in for a tough contest at Graham Reserve after the match was moved away from Manly Oval due to the ground being unfit.
Easts won the toss and chose to bat in the first one day fixture of the season. Despite having Test keeper Peter Nevill and Sixers star Nic Maddinson in the top order, the Dolphins innings never really got going despite the efforts of captain Greg Clarence who top scored with 52. The two Manly left arm spinners controlled the Dolphins run rate in the middle overs taking five wickets for just 44 runs between them in 20 overs. Easts were eventually bowled out for 148 in the 48th over.
Manly lost an early wicket to the evergreen Ian Moran, but despite new comer Jonte Pattison taking two wickets in three balls to have Manly 3/57, the home team never looked overly threatened in chasing down the Dolphins total with 10 overs to spare and six wickets still in hand.
Easts are at home at Waverley Oval this Saturday to last year’s Grand Finalists Sydney in another one day fixture.
Second Grade
Second Grade got their season off to the perfect start with a comprehensive seven wicket victory at Waverley Oval. Manly won the toss and chose to bat and moved along nicely to 0/78 before Jono Smith made the first break through. When Udit Mehta came into the attack, along with Smith and tight bowling from Jacob Taucher, Manly then lost their way after building a platform for a large score. Mehta was the pick of the bowlers with 4/36, while Jono Smith also picked up 4/53. Manly were bowled out for 191 with five balls left in the innings.
In reply with Easts 2/38 and both openers out cheaply, the match was in the balance. From there Adam Ezekiel guided his team home with a match winning 100 not out and in doing so also passed 5000 grade runs for Easts. The innings included eight fours and four sixes. He was supported by Tom Gallop 22 and Mark Morley 48 not out, as the Dolphins chased Manly’s score down with nine overs to spare.
Third Grade
Third Grade came up against finals nemesis Manly at Mike Pawley Oval in a closely fought high scoring match. Manly won the toss chose to bat and despite an early wicket set a platform to post a very large score. After a 130 run stand for the third wicket, spinner Sam McNiel broke the partnership removing both set batsmen. Easts then stuck to their guns restricting Manly to 8/260 after 300 looked possible. Captain Angus Palmer 2/45, JJ Coutts 2/49 and Sam McNiel 2/50 shared the wickets.
On a small ground with a fast outfield and lifeless wicket the Dolphins got off to a great start through openers Sam Pointer 57 and Michael Maclennan 31, and progressed to 0/76 before spin was introduced. After Maclennan was dismissed Easts collapsed to 6/108 with no other top order batsmen offering any support to opener Sam Pointer. Easts were staring at a significant defeat. Batting at seven and eight respectively Ollie Maxwell 54 and Jack Remond 49 put on 100 for the seventh wicket in a partnership which bought Easts back into the match. With seven overs to go, the Dolphins needed 59 off 42 with four wickets in hand, but unfortunately the slow nature of the Manly bowlers strangled the chase and any last over heroics as Easts fell 15 runs short.
Fourth Grade

Fourth Grade got their season off on the right foot with a 20 run victory at Snape Park. On a large ground with a long outfield Easts batted first and posted 138 which was a total worth more than it indicated. Lower order batsmen Patrick Turk top scored with 20, while tailenders Steve Lewis and Alastair Shackman put on 20 valuable runs for the last wicket.

In response Manly struggled to tick the runs over with tight bowling from Steve Lewis, David Dunn and Patrick Turk in the first half of visitors innings. Despite having wickets in hand, by the time spinners Tim Brown and captain Michael Quinn came on in the 33rd over the run rate was becoming concerning for the Waratahs. In search of quick runs, Manly collapsed and were eventually bowled out for 118, with Tim Brown returning figures of 5/22 and Michael Quinn 3/27. In his return game for the Club, gloveman Alastair Shackman produced five dismissals.
Fifth Grade
Fifth Grade ventured to Manly Oval where the Waratahs won the toss and chose to bat first. Manly ended up posting 8/210 with Andy Yaxley in his debut game for the Dolphins returning the figures of 3/33. He was backed up by another club debutant, Nikshep Mekala who took 2/39.
Easts set about their chase and at 3/113 things were looking good for the Dolphins. But in a dramatic collapse Easts proceeded to lose 7/25 as the middle and lower order where undone by Manly’s change bowlers. Nikshep Mekala finished off a good all round game compiling 57 runs.
Sixth Grade
Sixth Grade were washed out in their match on Sunday at David Phillips against UNSW.

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