Graham Croker

Sydney University began the 2011-12 cricket season where they left off the past season – with another title – when they defeated Newcastle in the State Challenge played at Ron Hill Oval, Toronto, on Sunday.

The State Challenge brought together the winners of the previous season’s NSW Country Championship (Newcastle) and the Sydney Cricket Association First Grade limited overs competition (Sydney University).

The Students were sent in to bat on a difficult pitch that aided the Newcastle bowlers, and they found scoring difficult in the early overs.

But Scott Henry, batting at No.3, set the platform with a solid 43, while ex-Novocastrian Mark Faraday played a dab hand with shots all around the ground to remain unbeaten on 59 as University finished with 6-192 from their 50 overs. The knock was to earn Faraday Player of the Match honours.

Mark Dries delivered a fine spell of medium pace bowling to finish with 2-9 from his 10 overs, while Andrew Maher (2-27) helped keep the score under control.

However, Newcastle soon found themselves in all sorts of trouble chasing the target and were 6-53 at one stage.

A gutsy hand of 75 from Troy Goodwin and some willow-wielding from paceman Andrew Maher, who helped add 28 for the last wicket, provided a glimmer of hope before the chase ran out on 175 when he was caught on the boundary.

Greg Mail earned the bowling honours for the Students with a niggardly 3-17, while both Liam Robertson and Tom Kierath each took two wickets.

The State Challenge now sits alongside the Belvidere Cup (Sydney First Grade competition), the Limited Overs Cup and the Poidevin-Gray Shield (Sydney Under 21 competition) which Sydney University Cricket Club won in the 2010-11 season.


State Challenge – Final

Sydney University 6-191 off 50 overs (Mark Faraday 59 not out, Scott Henry 43; Mark Dries 2-9, Andrew Maher 2-27) d Newcastle 175 (Troy Goodwin 75 not out; Greg Mail 3-17, Tom Kierath 2-17) played at Ron Hill Oval, Toronto.

Player of the Match: Mark Faraday.

Umpires: Paul Dilley and Bill Hendricks.

Sydney University squad: Greg Mail, Nick Larkin, Scott Henry, Mark Faraday, Will Hay (c), Liam Robertson, James Crowley (wk), Tom Kierath, Timothy Ley, Josh Toyer, Chris Withers, Dave Miller, (12th). John Kilford (scorer), Gary Whitaker (coach).