Robertson stars in Poidevin-Gray title

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Graham Croker 

All-rounder Liam Robertson starred with bat and ball in Sydney University’s six-wicket win over Hawkesbury in the final of the Poidevin-Gray Shield played at Owen Earle Oval on Sunday.

Robertson, a second year Arts student and Sydney University Sports Scholarship holder, snared 3-8 in his six-and-a-half overs as the hosts crumbled for 86 in 31 overs after being put in to bat on their home turf.

The 19-year-old then came in at No.3 and cracked a match-winning 44, sharing in a 70-run partnership with skipper Nick Larkin (28), as the Students posted 4-89 in 25.4 overs to collect the Shield for a second time – Sydney University won their first PGS competition in the 1996-97 season.

Not surprisingly, Robertson was named Shane Lee Player of the Match for his efforts.

The Poidevin-Gray Shield – the premier Under 21 competition in the country, played in limited overs format – now sits with the one-day title Sydney University won two weeks ago. And, having finished with the minor premiership in the Sydney First Grade  competition, the Students are strong contenders to add the Belvidere Cup to their 2010-11 season collection. Second Grade are also in line for a title, having finished the season proper in fourth place.

Gary Whitaker, Director of Cricket and club coach at Sydney University, said Robertson was one of a number of talented young cricketers who will make up the nucleus of the club for years to come.

“This was an exceptional achievement,” he said. “They went with a plan and executed it perfectly. The match was played on a very good batting wicket, but we have an excellent bowling attack and, having won the toss and sent Hawkesbury in, the boys all bowled well and took wickets.

“Nigel (Cowell) and Chris (Withers) made the early breakthroughs, Liam and Kerrod (McPherson) took wickets in the middle overs and Rob (Edwards) came on and collected two.

“While the run chase might have been uncomfortable after losing an early wicket, Liam and Nick (Larkin) batted very well and put on a valuable partnership.”

Whitaker said Robertson, a medium-fast right-armer who swings the ball, has the potential to go to the next level. “He is also a very good batsman an exceptional fieldsman,” he said.

“He is just starting to hit his straps after hurting his knee playing rugby in his last year at school and overcoming an operation.

“Liam was an integral part of our one-day team during the season and was 12th man for the final – making way for Beau Casson.”

The coach said Sydney University have two more objectives to round out the season – First and Second grade titles. First Grade meet Sydney Tigers in a qualifying final at Sydney University No.1 Oval on Saturday and Sunday, while Second meet Randwick-Petersham at Petersham Oval.

“We’re hoping for the same support we had Owen Earle Oval on Sunday,” he said. “Over 50 supporters travelled west for the final of the Poidevin-Gray Shield. It was much appreciated and created a great atmosphere.”

Meanwhile, First Grade opener Greg Mail, who enjoyed another 1000-plus run season, just missed out on winning back-to-back O’Reilly Medals when the awards were announced on Saturday night.

Sydney Cricket Club’s Dominic Thornley won the First Grade Player of the Year award for the 2010-11 season by a point from Mail and Parramatta’s Michael Wood. Mail’s Sydney University team-mate Ian Moran was also well in the running.

The O’Reilly Medal is an annual award named after former St George, NSW and Australian leg-spinner, Bill O’Reilly, who was also a respected cricket writer.

The award is judged by umpires who award votes on a 3-2-1 basis at the conclusion of each match in the Belvidere Cup, First Grade Limited Overs and First Grade Twenty20 competitions. 

A joint winner of the O’Reilly Medal last summer, Mail finished the 2010-11 season proper as the leading run scorer in the First Grade competition with 1006 runs at an average of 59.2. He has made three centuries this summer with a highest score of 166 in Round Two against Manly-Warringah.


Sydney Men’s Grade Cricket competition – Poidevin-Gray Shield final (Under 21 – Limited Overs)

Sydney University 4-89 off 25.4 overs (Liam Robertson 44, Nick Larkin 28; Jamie Cruikshank 3-13, Jay Dyball 1-10) d Hawkesbury 86 off 31.5 overs (Dale McKay 19; Liam Robertson 3-8, Rob Edwards 2-17, Nigel Cowell 2-26) by six wickets at Owen Earle Oval. Toss: Sydney University. Batted first: Hawkesbury.

Sydney Men’s Grade Cricket competition – Round 15 (Final competition round – Limited overs)

First Grade: Sydney University 8-171 off 49.1 overs (Will Hay 41, Scott Henry 37, Mark Faraday 25; Max McNamara 2-22) d Penrith 9-170 off 50 overs (Matt Halse 43 not out, Tim Sutton 32, Jarryd Blake 25; Beau Casson 3-19, Tom Kierath 1-25) by one wicket at Sydney University No.1 Oval. Toss: Penrith. Batted first: Penrith. Points: Sydney University 6, Penrith 0. (Sydney University finished 1st on the competition ladder and will contest the Preliminary finals against Sydney Tigers at Sydney University No.1 Oval this weekend.)

Second Grade: Penrith 9-264 off 50 overs (Ben Netros 55, R Gibson 47, K Gordon 42, M Cummins 42; Ben Joy 3-44, Michael Culkoff 3-54) d Sydney University 8-198 (Rob Edwards 61, Ben Larkin 34, Matthew Morgan 32; K Niess 3-27, B Williams 3-31) by 66 runs at Cook Park. Toss: Sydney University. Batted first: Penrith. Points: Penrith 6, Sydney University 0. Sydney University finished 4th on the competition ladder and will contest the preliminary finals against Randwick-Petersham at Petersham Oval this weekend.)

Third Grade: Sydney University 245 off 42 overs (Alasdair Grant 76, Hasi Balasuriya 42 not out, Kerrod McPherson 26; T Dixon 3-59) d Penrith 144 off 39 overs (Michael Collins 44 not out; Ken Huckle 4-42, Charles McKeith 3-19) by 101 runs at Sydney University No.2 Oval. Toss: Penrith. Batted first: Penrith. Points: Sydney University 6, Penrith 0. (Sydney University finished 9th on the competition ladder.)

Fourth Grade:  Penrith 6-214 off 45 overs (Josh Betros 66 not out, Clarence Dent 44; Sam Mahabady 3-44, Ronit Lotliker 2-41) d Sydney University 160 off 41 overs (Charles Arcus 40 not out, Ash Cowan 35, Charles Cull 27; Mark Graham 3-37) by 54 runs at Rance Oval. Toss: Sydney University. Batted first: Penrith. Points: Penrith 6, Sydney University 0. (Sydney University finished 13th on the competition ladder.)

Fifth Grade: Sydney University 1-106 off 21 overs (Michael Barwick 54 not out, Nick Fitzgerald 36 not out) d Penrith 105 off 42 overs (Darius Visser 2-12, Josh Lawrence 2-17, Sanjeev Patarah Singh 2-21) by nine wickets at St Paul’s College Oval. Toss: Penrith. Batted first: Penrith. Points: Sydney University 7, Penrith 0. (Sydney University finished 15th on the competition ladder.)