Former Australian Test representatives Shane Watson and Stephen O’Keefe are both expected to feature in Grade cricket this Saturday for Round Four of McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket on Saturday for the first day of a two-day fixture.
Allrounder Watson was absent from the Sutherland side for their loss to Campbelltown-Camden in round three. Left-arm finger spinner O’Keefe missed the first week of third round action for his Manly-Warringah side due to NSW Blues duty, but returned on the final Saturday of the runs feast loss to Sydney University taking 1-77.
Watson, 38, has represented Australia in 59 Tests, scoring over 3,700 runs at an average of over 35, and taking 75 wickets. The 34-year-old O’Keefe has played nine Tests for his country, with 35 scalps at an average of under 30.
Watson’s Test career came to an end in 2015, while O’Keefe last wore the Baggy Green against Bangladesh in September 2017. They will be welcome additions to their club sides for this Saturdays’ action after both teams suffered defeats last time out.
Both players have also experienced superb first-class careers. Watson has played 137 matches with a brilliant record of over 9,400 runs at an average of just under 43. He has also taken 210 wickets at a tick under 30.
O’Keefe took part in the Blues crushing Sheffield Shield victory over Tasmania at Drummoyne Oval a fortnight ago, in what was his 84th first-class outing. He chipped in with a wicket in each innings. He has taken 287 First Class wickets at the superb average of just under 25.
He will line-up for Manly-Warringah as they take on Eastern Suburbs at Waverley Oval.
The Manly side is also expected to include fellow Blues contracted players Jack Edwards, his brother Mickey and promising young-gun Ollie Davies, who is coming off a huge century in the previous match.
Watson will take the field for Sutherland for their match against UNSW at Glenn McGrath Oval. Both sides will be looking to bounce back after going down in round three.
The Penrith side will feature a couple of Blues contracted players for their clash with Randwick-Petersham at Howell Oval. Batsmen Ryan Gibson and Ryan Hackney have been named for the undefeated Penrith team who line-up against the also undefeated Randwick Petersham, to be captained by Blues batsman Jason Sangha.
Hackney has been in hot form of late, scoring his maiden Second XI century for NSW Metro over a week ago, and backing this up with 131 not out last weekend in the win over Hawkesbury.
Gibson has been in fine form himself, scoring an unbeaten 186 from 185 balls in that same match for Penrith last Saturday. Sangha is coming off an innings of 105 for ACT/NSW Country during the week in the Second XI competition.
Fairfield-Liverpool will also include a couple of Blues for their match with St George at Hurstville Oval. They will be captained by off-spinning allrounder Param Uppal, with fellow off-spinning allrounder Arjun Nair also set to take part.
St George batsman Blake Nikitaras scored 126 during the week for ACT/NSW Country in the Second XI.
Former Australian One-Day International batsman Peter Forrest will captain Hawkesbury for their match with Parramatta at Owen Earle Oval. Both teams will be looking for much needed wins after shaky starts to the season.
Bankstown will take on Mosman at Bankstown Oval. Both sides are two wins from three to start the season and will be looking to continue the solid form.
Gordon will host Campbelltown-Camden at Chatswood Oval. The Ghosts are undefeated so far and have the chance to go four from four against a Gordon side that has a win, loss and draw to its record.
Northern District play Blacktown Mounties at Mark Taylor Oval. Both sides have experienced modest starts to the season with one win apiece.
Sydney take on Western Suburbs at Drummoyne Oval. Sydney are one win from the first three rounds while the Western Suburbs side have two victories.
Sydney University face UTS North Sydney at Sydney University Oval. Sydney are undefeated while UTS have only the one win.
MCDONALD’S NSW PREMIER CRICKET
FIRST GRADE TEAMS:
10:30am Saturday 2nd Nov & 10:30am Saturday 9th Nov 2019
See full teams here.