Sydney University won the 2013-14 Sydney Men’s First Grade cricket final with an outright result in a low-scoring, rain-interrupted decider against Bankstown at Hurstville Oval on Friday and Saturday.

In a match dominated by bowlers in overcast conditions, Sydney University’s Tim Ley hit the winning runs after tea on the second day.

His 48 not out, with four boundaries and three massive sixes, was a timely contribution. It was the highest score of the four innings, rescued the Students from a precarious 6-71, and ended the match late on Saturday afternoon – Sunday would have been a washout in Sydney. 

Sydney University Firsts were also the minor premiers in their quest for their eighth Belvidere Cup, the last title coming in 2011-12.

Sydney University also won the Second Grade title, defeating Northern District by seven wickets at Blacktown International Sports Park. Second Grade also won the 2011-12 and 2012-13 titles.

The University’s Sixth Grade won the Metropolitan Cup title in a low-scoring result over Blacktown at Jim Hanshaw Oval.

SUCC also won the coveted Club Championship for 2013-14.

And with Universities Women’s Cricket Club having won the 2013-14 Sydney Women’s First Grade title, the campuses at Darlington and Kensington dominate the competitions in Sydney.

The men’s First Grade final was a nail-biting affair played on a damp Hurstville Oval wicket under threatening skies.

Minor Premiers Sydney University went into the match without regular captain and prolific run-scorer Greg Mail, who was absent on best man duties at a mate’s wedding.

Stand-in skipper Scott Henry won the toss and had no hesitation sending Bankstown in to bat. The decision proved a good one and Bankstown were rolled for 82 in 24 overs thanks to Sean Abbott (3-35) and Nigel Cowell (2-24).

However, what was good for the goose was good for the gander and Sydney University’s reply of 37 was the lowest total in a First Grade final in the history of the competition. Mitchell Phelps (6-9) and Nathan McAndrew (3-8) proved almost unplayable. It was also the only completed innings in the history of grand finals where not one batsman reached double figures.

The Students were 6-30 when rain stopped play shortly after tea and added just seven more runs early on day two. The previous lowest total in a final was Gordon’s 38 against Western Suburbs in the 1971-72 decider.

Leading by 45 runs, Bankstown’s second innings started terribly when Abbott removed  Ethan Leten (0) and Daniel Solway (0) in the first over.

It was the start of a brilliant spell by the NSW all-rounder, who took 7-42 to help bowl Bankstown out for 98. With three wickets in the first innings, Abbott had match figures of 10-77 ranking as the third best in the history of Sydney First Grade grand finals, just behind St George’s Trent Copeland (11-94 in 2009-10) and Western Suburbs’ Gary Gilmour (10-27 in 1971-72).

Chasing 144 to win in dismal conditions, Scott Henry took to the bowling, hitting 21 from 17 balls to dominate a 30-run first wicket stand with Ryan Carters (7) in six overs.

However, Bankstown struck back, claiming the scalps of both batsmen with consecutive deliveries. Nathan McAndrew then had Abbott (7) caught in the slips before Mitchell Phelps added the wickets of Nick Larkin and Liam Robertson to send Sydney University to tea at 5-64.

Mark Faraday (36) took the attack to Bankstown after the break despite losing David Miller who became Phelps’ ninth victim.

Faraday then found a willing partner in Tim Ley and the pair put on 49 in quick time for the seventh wicket.

When Faraday departed with the score on 120, Ley upped the ante and hit the winning runs in the 40th over of the innings. His 60-ball knock, with four fours and three sixes truly was a match-winning innings in a low-scoring match.

Bankstown bowler Mitchell Phelps won the Benaud Medal for Player of the Match award for his contributions of 6-9 and 3-27 giving him match figures of 9-36, the sixth best in First Grade grand finals.

The Second Grade grand final was also a low-scoring affair at Blacktown International Sports Park.

Having won the toss and given Northern District first use of the wicket, the Students were looking good when they rolled them for 62, thanks to Ben Joy (5-17) and Joe Kershaw (4-19).

But as with the First Grade, Sydney University Seconds struggled with the bat and were all out for 70 in their first innings, with Chris Peebles (6-14) causing the damage.

Kershaw turned in a match-winning spell in the second innings when he collected 6-15 as Northern District folded for 59. Joy was also on song, finishing with 3-19.

Chasing a target of 52, Sydney University knocked off the deficit with the loss of three wickets just after tea on day two, to claim their second title in the past three seasons.

Kershaw was named Man of the Match.


Sydney Men’s Grade competition – Final

First Grade: Sydney University 37 off 25.4 overs (Mitchell Phelps 6-9, Nathan McAndrew 3-8) and 7-144 off 39.4 overs (Tim Ley 48 not out, Mark Faraday 36, Scott Henry 21; Mitchell Phelps 3-27, Nathan McAndrew 3-63) d Bankstown 82 off 24.1 overs (Philip Wells 13; Nigel Cowell 2-24, Sean Abbott 3-35) and 98 off 35 overs (Ashley Paddison 25, Philip Wells 22, James Allsopp 18; Sean Abbott 7-42, Nigel Cowell 2-33) outright by three wickets at Hurstville Oval on Friday and Saturday. Toss: Sydney University. Batted first: Bankstown. Premiers for 2013-14: Sydney University.

Benaud Medal for Player of the Match: Mitchell Phelps.

Second Grade: Sydney University 70 off 42.1 overs (Adam Theobald 18, extras 26; Chris Peebles 6-14) and 3-53 off 18 overs (Will Hay 12, extras 14, Joshua Richards 10 not out, Steven Hobson 10 not out) d Northern District 62 off 34.2 overs (Matthew Woodcock 19 not out; Ben Joy 5-17, Joe Kershaw 4-19) and 59 off 29.5 overs (Jason Hayward 20; Joe Kershaw 6-15, Ben Joy 3-19) outright at Blacktown International Sports Park. Toss: Sydney University. Batted first: Northern District. Player of the Match: Joe Kershaw. Premiers for 2013-14: Sydney University.

Metropolitan Cup – Final

Sydney University 5-74 (NDA) d Blacktown 73 (NDA) by five wickets in rain-interrupted final at Jim Hanshaw Oval on Saturday and Sunday. Toss: Sydney University. Batted first: Blacktown: Premiers for 2013-14: Sydney University.