31.03.08 – Nick Bailey

   Sydney University Seconds are through to the final of the men’s Sydney Grade Cricket competition after a brilliant century from Adam Theobald and a five-wicket haul from Marty Paskal helped them to a 172-run defeat of Randwick-Petersham in their semi-final at Coogee Oval on the weekend.

After winning the toss and batting, Sydney University amassed an imposing 307, with the innings dominated by 179 from Theobald, who faced 225 balls and hit 15 boundaries and four sixes in a 230-minute occupation of the crease.

Randwick-Petersham were 1-26 at stumps on Saturday but were put to the sword on Sunday when they were dismissed for 135, with Shane Pargeter’s 45 the only real resistance offered as left-arm quick Pascal snared 5-44.

After scraping into the finals in 6th place, University Seconds now find themselves in the season decider against second-placed Bankstown, who ended the season of minor premiers Eastern Suburbs in the other semi-final with a two-wicket victory.

The talk of the campus however, was Theobald, whose blistering knock made up for more than half of his team’s total. Coming in to bat with the University at 1-2 after Matthew Phelps had been run out without scoring, he left the crease with the score at 8-290, having played a part in seven different partnerships during the course of the innings, two of them consisting of more than 50 runs.Opener Sutha Sivapalan provided good support at the top of the innings, putting together a patient knock of 34 runs from 112 balls.

On a difficult day for Randwick-Petersham’s bowlers, captain Rodney Stafford was the pick of the bunch, finishing with figures of 7-105 from his 25 overs. No other Randwick-Petersham bowler managed to take a wicket in the innings, with the other three dismissals all run outs.

Sydney University bowlers encountered no such trouble, with four of the attack claiming wickets as they skittled Randwick-Petersham for their lowest total of the season. While Paskal led the way, Kevin Desai’s 3-35 from 20 overs was also noteworthy. After a solid second-wicket stand of 74, Randwick-Petersham never recovered from a middle order batting collapse that saw them go from 1-74 to 5-90.

The focus now turns to this week’s final, with Sydney University a definite chance of claiming the title. Their impressive run in the finals has seen them defeat minor premiers Easts in the qualifying final and fourth placed Randwick-Petersham in the semi-final.

The last meeting between the University and Bankstown was in Round 1 last September, with Bankstown victorious on the first innings, when they amassed 7(dec)- 298 before dismissing University for 221. NSW representative Aaron O’Brien was the star for Bankstown that day, smashing 98 from just 114 balls.

The final will start this Friday at Hurstville Oval from 10:30am.