A strong batting performance from the Bankstown top order has put the Bulldogs on top after day one of the McDonald's NSW Premier Cricket Final against Sydney University at Bankstown.
Bankstown reached 6-312 at stumps on the strength of Philip Wells (95), Kerrod White (83) and Mitch Brown (62).
At a picturesque Bankstown Memorial Oval basked in sunshine, Bankstown won the toss and elected to bat in front of a committed block of supporters who braved the breezy conditions in the early part of the morning.
Bankstown made a tentative start, slumping to 2-27 when the Bulldogs openers Daniel Solway (15) and Luke Reece (9) were removed within six balls of each other.
A big third-wicket partnership between Bankstown's two leading run scorers, Wells and Brown, took the momentum away from the students who at times struggled for consistency with the ball.
Wells and Brown used their feet brilliantly against both the pace and spin bowlers and found the gaps in the field, particularly in the second session when runs started to flow more easily for the Bulldogs.
The partnership was eventually broken by part-time medium pace bowler Greg Mail, who removed the dangerous Brown just when he was starting to punish the University bowlers.
He hit a firm drive back down the ground that was snapped up by Sydney University Captain Nick Larkin at mid-off.
Wells continued with his dominant innings despite the students bowling an accurate line for the early part of the final session.
In a committed and consistent performance, Ben Joy bowled well and without luck for much of the day.
Coming off figures of 5-9 last week in the semi-final against Parramatta, Joy was able to extract consistent lift from an at times docile Bankstown pitch.
Wells was eventually dismissed just five short of what would have been a magnificent century. He was undone by the guile of Liam Robertson who had him caught behind by Ryan Carters after continuous tight bowling had dried up the runs.
However the loss of Wells didn't affect the Bulldogs’ momentum as middle order batsman Kerrod White (83) played an aggressive innings, dispatching anything a little short or a little wide to the fence or over it.
His half-century came off just 59 deliveries and included five fours and two sixes.
His innings was abruptly cut short by a brilliant piece of individual work from Joy, who fielded a shot from Burke and deflected the effort onto the stumps to run out White.
White wasn't alone in his aggressive run making, with Bankstown Captain Jarrad Burke (33) playing some expansive drives and cut shots as he survived to stumps in a typical captain's knock.
The students will feel a lot more comfortable about their situation by taking two late wickets during what has been an absorbing final so far.
In Second Grade action, Sydney finished at 7-282 against Northern District at Mark Taylor Oval.
Tristan McDonald was the mainstay for Sydney by scoring 78 and was supported by some useful top order contributions.
Off spinner Charlie Taylor collected two wickets for the home side.