Sydney University leg-spinner Devlin Malone has claimed his fifth five-wicket haul of the season in a 126-run win over Penrith in the quarter-finals of the First Grade Limited-Overs Cup on Sunday.
Malone claimed 5-34 from 10 overs in the emphatic win for the defending champions at University Oval. He was one of several key performers across the four matches that decided the four semi-finalists that will play off for a spot in the Grand Final.
Sydney, which qualified for the finals in first place, overcame a strong St George side by five wickets to progress to the semi-finals next Sunday. It will meet Bankstown who defeated North Sydney by six wickets.
Sydney University play Gordon, at University Oval, on Sunday after the Stags won a tight quarter final against UNSW by a single wicket.
Sydney fast bowler Nic Bills also claimed five wickets against St George. He took 5-44 from 9.2 overs for the Tigers. It was his 17th five-wicket haul in First Grade.
Malone went to the top of the wicket takers list in McDonald's NSW Premier Cricket this season with his five wickets. He now has 53 scalps at an average of 17.3.
Centurion Damien Mortimer, as well as former NSW Blues and Australian Test opener Ed Cowan, also starred for the students in the quarter-final win.
Mortimer made 129 not out from 130 balls, including 11 fours and two sixes, and was strongly supported by Cowan, who scored 89 from 70 balls, including a remarkable eight sixes and just two fours.
The pair shared a 164-run partnership for the fourth wicket and contributed to a substantial total of 4/312.
In reply, Penrith was bowled out for 186 within 39 overs. Batting at No. 9, left-arm finger spinner Luke Hodges top-scored for the Panthers with 41 from 40 balls.
The most important of the five wickets for Malone was stand-in Penrith captain Ryan Gibson (22). He filled the role of captain in the absence of regular skipper Ryan Smith who withdrew with injury.
Malone beat the defences of the NSW Blues and Sydney Thunder batsman. Sydney University off-spinner Ryan McElduff complemented the leg-spinner with 3-34.
Bills led a disciplined and complete bowling performance by Sydney to dismiss St George for 208 within 47 overs at Drummoyne Oval.
Sydney claimed the key wicket of Australian Test and Blues batsman Kurtis Patterson (8) early with the score on 48. Seamer Ryan Felsch (3-39) removed the No. 3 caught behind by Beau McClintock.
St George was 6/75 at one point during its 50 overs, but courtesy of 57 not out from 64 balls by Adam Whatley down the order, the visitors managed to post a respectable total.
NSW Metro Under 17 allrounder Hugh Sherriff also collected 2-46, from 10 overs, opening the attack with Bills.
Felsch made a swift 61 from 48 balls at the top of the order in the successful chase. The allrounder and his captain, former Blues wicketkeeper-batsman Daniel Smith, both made half-centuries.
Smith scored 52 from 56 balls in the middle order. Sydney finished 5/211 after 40.2 overs.
Thunder wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Gilkes, 19, made his third century of the season for UNSW in the agonising loss to Gordon at Chatswood Oval.
After UNSW won the toss and elected to bat first, Gilkes made 109 from 103 deliveries opening the batting. It was the fourth century of his Premier Cricket career and he is just the 12th player to score four First Grade hundreds before the age of 20.
The great Archie Jackson has the most centuries before 20 with eight. Arthur Morris, Ron Kissell and current International super star Steve Smith have six each.
Together with Joseph Byrnes (74), Gilkes added 154 runs for the third wicket until spinner Scott O’Brien broke through to trigger a costly collapse.
O’Brien, who was the best of the Gordon bowlers with 4-42 from nine overs, removed Gilkes in the 39th over with the score on 198 and the Bumblebees lost 8/39 to be bowled out for 237 in 49 overs.
Opening bowlers Tym Crawford (2-28) and Blues seamer Charlie Stobo (2-38) were the other multiple wicket takers for Gordon.
In the chase, Gordon reached 131 for the loss of two wickets in the 24th over before it suffered a calamitous collapse of its own. The Stags lost 6/7 in the space of four overs to stumble from 2/131 to 8/138.
ACT/NSW Country allrounder Glenn Winsor (60) came to the rescue for Gordon. He shared a match-defining 93-run ninth-wicket partnership with Stobo (39 not out) that guided the Stags to within seven runs of victory.
Gordon achieved victory with seven balls to spare and finished 9/238. Opener Cameron Eccles (51 from 37) was the other batsman to make fifty for the Stags.
During his 61 balls at the crease, Winsor reached the boundary eight times. It was his highest score in Premier Cricket this season.
Fast bowler Josh Bennett claimed 4-57 from nine overs in the loss for the Bumblebees.
In the other quarter final, Bankstown upset fourth-placed UTS North Sydney to end an eight-match winning streak for the Bears. An unbeaten 126 from 100 balls from Mitch Brown steered the Bulldogs to the only away win of the four quarter finals.
Brown reached the boundary 15 times and cleared it on four occasions. He shared a 135-run fourth-wicket partnership with fast bowling Thunder allrounder Nathan McAndrew (64 from 40). In pursuit of 238 to win, Bankstown finished 4/241.
Several North Sydney batsman made starts without making the big score Norths needed. They were dismissed for 237 in the 49th over.
Right-arm medium-fast bowler Matthew Waite (3-35) claimed best figures for Bankstown. Brown (2-26) and McAndrew (2-63) also claimed multiple wickets for the victors.
North Sydney allrounder Rob Aitken (19) moved to 10,864 First Grade runs on Saturday. He went past Anthony Clark, who scored 10,852 runs, in to 13th position on the all-time run-scorers list.
McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket:
First Grade Limited-Overs Cup – Quarter Finals:
Sydney 5-211 (R Felsch 61 D Smith 52 Z Crawley 40no A Mosca 26) bt St George 208 (A Whatley 57no J Rose 36 N Stapleton 34 B Macdonald 29 N Bills 5-44 R Felsch 3-39 H Sherriff 2-46) at Drummoyne Oval,
Sydney University 4-312 (D Mortimer 129no E Cowan 89 N Walker 43 L Robertson 32 J Lalor 2-75) bt Penrith 186 (L Hodges 41 B Atherton 35 C Weir 31 R Gibson 22 D Malone 5-34 R McElduff 3-34) at University Oval,
Bankstown 4-241 (M Brown 126no N McAndrew 64 D Solway 31 J Campbell 2-57) bt UTS North Sydney 237 (J Avendano 44 A Crosthwaite 30 T Jagot 29 J Aitken 29 M Alexander 24no M Waite 3-35 M Brown 2-26 N McAndrew 2-63) at North Sydney Oval,
Gordon 9-238 (G Winsor 60 C Eccles 51 A Cahlin 46 C Stobo 39no J Bennett 4-57 H Brook 3-25) bt UNSW 237 (M Gilkes 109 J Byrnes 74 S O'Brien 4-42 T Crawford 2-28 C Stobo 2-38) at Chatswood Oval.
Semi-Finals (Sunday 24 February):
Sydney v Bankstown at Drummoyne Oval; Sydney University v Gordon at University Oval.