Sydney University Cricket Club (SUCC) is on track to field five teams in the qualifying finals of the 2018-19 NSW Premier Competition.
With 10 rounds behind them, SUCC head the First, Second and Fourth grade ladders, with Third Grade running second and Fifth Grade running fifth, just a win behind the leaders. And with five rounds to be played SUCC head the Club Championship on 1087 points, with Penrith (918) and Parramatta (851) the main threats.
While things are progressing well upstairs, Sydney University also head the Metropolitan Cup competition on 56 points after 11 rounds, with North-West Sydney (46), UNSW (44), Randwick-Petersham Gold (40), Gordon (39) and Warringah (39) making up the top six.
While titles across the grades are in sight, SUCC recently let one slip by when they lost to Sutherland in the final of the Kingsgrove Sports T20 Cup. Despite the loss, it was Sydney University’s most successful season in the T20 Cup and their runners-up finish earnt them a ticket to the inaugural National T20 Premier Cricket Tournament to be played in Adelaide in March.
In his first season as Director of Cricket at SUCC, Cameron Borgas is more than happy with his new surroundings, but he’s even happier with the standing of the club. Having coached at another sandstone campus, Adelaide University, for the past three seasons Borgas, who played 37 Sheffield Shield matches for South Australia, said he inherited a solid band of cricketers through the grades.
“I’ve been really pleased with the culture at the club and the attitude of the playing group,” he said. “We have a very talented group with excellent depth throughout the grades which is great, but more importantly we have a committed group of genuinely good people who support each other and always put their team and club first.”
“A number of our young First Graders hit early season form, including opener Ben Trevor-Jones, leg-spinner Devlin Malone, all-rounders Ryan McElduff and Hayden Kerr, and left arm quick Dugald Holloway. All of them have the potential to go to the next level.”
“Devlin and Ryan have already played for NSW Under 19s, while Hayden recently made his NSW Future League debut for ACT-NSW Country. Opening bowler Joe Kershaw also plays Future League player for ACT-NSW Country.”
Mr Borgas said it has been particularly pleasing to see so many reaching personal best levels, including players such as Nick Larkin, who is enjoying his best Shield Season and currently doing well in the Big Bash, and Ryan Danne making his First Grade debut after starting at the club in Green Shield.
Kerr has posted 560 runs for the season at 37.2, including 133 batting at No.4 in the win over Randwick Petersham. McElduff has crafted 469 at 39.1 in First and Second grades, including 111 against UNSW, while Trevor-Jones has posted 415 at 51.9 in First and Second grades and Poidevin-Gray Shield, with 124 against Fairfield-Liverpool. Liam Robertson, who has assumed captaincy duties in the absence of NSW representative Larkin, has cracked 405 runs at 33.8, including 105 against Sydney, while Damien Mortimer has posted 402 runs at 30.9, including 143 against UNSW.
And backing up the solid batting array, leg-spinner Devlin Malone has taken 46 wickets for the season at 18.5, including 6-73 against Eastern Suburbs and three other five-wicket hauls.
The Students’ success right through the grades has been built on some solid batting performances. Steven Hobson has scored 432 at 54 in Seconds and Thirds and one First Grade appearance, including 122 against Manly-Warringah, 104 against Fairfield-Liverpool and 98 against Hawkesbury.
Matthew Moran has also posted two centuries in six innings, including 121 not out in a Poidevin-Gray fixture against St George and 181 not out in a Third Grade fixture against Mosman. He’s averaging 95.5 with 382 runs on the board. Lower grade opener Jack Hill has 432 runs at 43.2, including 123 against Hawkesbury, Charlie Litchfield has scored 402 at 44.7, including 106 against Hawkesbury, while Billy Barge cracked an unbeaten 144 against UNSW in Round 7 of the Metropolitan Cup.
Meanwhile, Josh Toyer is closing in on 300 wickets for the club. He’s on 293 at 19.57 from 158 matches across all grades. Mr Borgas said the Club Championship was and still is a major goal that everyone has bought into really well and this focus has contributed to a strong, inclusive culture at the club. “The Club Championship is massive – we are in a good position and it would be a great result if we are able to take it out. To be 165 points clear of second with five rounds remaining is exciting but there is a still a lot of work to do and we will need to maintain our standards against some strong opposition over the next couple of months to achieve our goal.”
“Inevitably seasons are judged on premierships and we obviously want to give ourselves a chance to win as many as we can. They never come easily so we will need to maintain our standards and continue to improve in all facets.”
“Cricket tends to make clubs/teams/players pay a high price for getting ahead of themselves so we need to ensure we stay in the present rather than looking too far ahead, and bring a finals-like focus and intensity to everything we do. If we keep nailing the process the results will take care of themselves.”
The Students will have those thoughts in mind in the final five rounds of the competition when they host Campbelltown-Camden for a limited overs fixture followed by two-day matches against Penrith (University Oval), Gordon (Chatswood Oval) and Sutherland (Glenn McGrath Oval), and round out the season proper with a limited overs match against Western Suburbs (University Oval). Bring on the finals.