Sydney University skipper Greg Mail chose an unusual time to officially retire from first class cricket when he made the announcement mid-week.
Mail had just become the first player in the 116-year history of Sydney Grade Cricket to score double centuries in consecutive First Grade matches when he amassed 212 against Northern District in their Round 7 encounter at Sydney University No.1 Oval. He had scored 214 not out against Randwick-Petersham at Coogee Oval in Round 6.
With former NSW Under-19 representative David Miller contributing 120 not out, Sydney University declared at their overnight score of 4-391 before dismissing Northern District for 228 to take first innings points.
The Students remain fourth on the competition ladder behind Campbelltown-Camden, St George and Sutherland. But surprise losses in Second and Third grades saw Sydney University drop to second on the Club Championship behind Bankstown.
Mail’s back-to-back double hundreds put him in elite company. Only two other players have passed 200 twice in the same season: Don Bradman made 246 and 201 in the 1931-32 season, and former NSW player Norbet Phillips made 243 not out and 200 in the 1929-30 season. But neither made them in consecutive matches.
Mail’s 29th First Grade hundred took him past former Australian player Tommy Andrews, who made 28, and put him fifth on the list for most First Grade centuries behind Victor Trumper (36), Warren Bardsley (36), Bob Simpson (35) and Alan Kippax (32).
The Sydney University opener is averaging 120.5 this season, with 723 runs on the board from seven innings (not including two Twenty20 innings).
While he has been a prolific scorer at grade level, Mail also enjoyed a healthy, 10-year First Class career with NSW. After making his debut in October 1999, he played 72 First Class matches for the Blues, scoring 4085 runs at an average of 32.16, including nine centuries and a highest score of 176.
He was a member of the Sheffield Shield-winning sides of 2002-03, 2004-05 and 2007-08.
Cricket NSW chief executive Dave Gilbert said Mail had set an outstanding example to his team-mates, on and off the field.
“His dedication and commitment to NSW over the past decade is one of the reasons why the team has enjoyed such a successful period,” Mr Gilbert said.
Meanwhile, having declared at 4-507, Sydney University Second Grade were at very short odds to take the points against Northern District at Waitara Oval.
But Matthew Phillips (115), Dean Crawford (103), Brendan Ham (66), Clayton Waters (53), Chris Burnett (46) and Tim McMahon (38) didn’t see it that way as Northern District rattled up 8-509 to take first innings points.
It was a similar story at Sydney University No.2 Oval where the hosts posted an imposing 341 only to see Northern District reply with 7-347.
Fourth Grade secured first innings points at Asquith Oval. After dismissing Northern District for 162 (Charles Cull 3-31 and Daniel Bragg 3-50), the Students replied with 3-217, thanks to Paul O’Halloran (84 not out), Ash Cowan (46), and Dave Crawford (44 not out).
Fifth Grade also earned first innings points. After winning the toss and giving the visitors first use of the St Paul’s College Oval wicket, the Students dismissed Northern District for 258 before replying with 4-261, thanks to Aaron Khongwar (76), Ed Quoyle (62), Michael Barwick (55) and Chris Davey (34).
Sydney University are now fifth on the Poidevin-Gray Shield ladder, behind St George, Penrith, Western Suburbs and Northern District, following their 71-run win over Bankstown at Bankstown Oval on Sunday.
The Students rattled up 8-259 off their 50 overs, thanks to big contributions from David Miller (93), Chris Jones (54 not out), Matt Morgan (41) and Nick Larkin (27), before dismissing the hosts for 188 of 36 overs. Hasi Balasurija (3-32) and Chris Withers (3-50) were the most successful of the University bowlers.
Sydney Grade Cricket – Round 7 (Two-day matches)
First Grade: Sydney University 4(dec)-391 (Greg Mail 212, David Miller 120 not out; Andrew McLean 2-52) d Northern District 228 (Dominic Thornley 48, David Lowery 40, Andrew McLean 40, Ahillen Beadle 30; Josh Toyer 4-51, Ian Moran 2-27, Marty Paskal 2-62) on the first innings at Sydney University No.1 Oval. Toss won by: Northern District. Batted first: Sydney University. Points: Sydney University 6, Northern District 0.
Second Grade: Northern District 8-509 (Matthew Phillips 115, Dean Crawford 103, Brendan Ham 66, Clayton Waters 53, Chris Burnett 46, Tim McMahon 38; Chris Withers 2-78, Shashi Kesher 2-101, Tim Ley 2-151) d Sydney University 4(dec)-507 (Mark Faraday 186, Adam Theobald 168, Chris Jones 71 not out, Liam Robertson 55; James Kerr 2-98) on the first innings at Waitara Oval. Toss: Sydney University. Batted first: Sydney University. Points: Northern District 6, Sydney University 0.
Third Grade: Northern District 7-347 (Tom Cooper 84, Andrew Lowe 62, Nick Cheadle 58 not out, Daniel Apps 32 not out; Mark Hackett 3-48) d Sydney University 341 (Mark Hackett 64, Suda Sivapalan 57, Alisdair Grant 35, Josh Lawrence 34; Nick Cheadle 4-80, Mark Jones 2-52) on the first innings at Sydney University No.2 Oval. Toss: Sydney University. Batted first: Sydney University. Points: Northern District 6, Sydney University 0.
Fourth Grade: Sydney University 3-217 (Paul O’Halloran 84 not out, Ash Cowan 46, Dave Crawford 44 not out) d Northern District 162 (Chris Ashby 42; Charles Cull 3-31, Daniel Bragg 3-50) on the first innings at Asquith Oval. Toss: Northern District. Batted first: Northern District. Points: Sydney University 6, Northern District 0.
Fifth Grade: Sydney University 4-261 (Aaron Khongwar 76, Ed Quoyle 62, Michael Barwick 55, Chris Davey 34) d Northern District 9-258 (Ansh Gopalani 101, Shane Cash 56 not out, Jonathon Leonard 40; Greg Metcalfe 4-73, James Rodgers 3-45, Ed Quoyle 3-72) on the first innings at St Paul’s College Oval. Toss: Sydney University. Batted first: Northern District. Points: Sydney University 6, Northern District 0.
Poidevin-Gray Shield – Round 4 (Limited overs)
Sydney University 8-259 off 50 overs (David Miller 93, Chris Jones 54 not out, Matt Morgan 41, Nick Larkin 27; Daniel Burns 3-43, Dean Bush 2-29, Joel Smith 2-41) d Bankstown 188 off 36 overs (Daniel Burns 70, Anthony Sams 26; Hasi Balasurija 3-32, Chris Withers 3-50 at Bankstown Oval.