A number of New South Wales’ Blues have been selected for their clubs in the first round of two-day matches played over Saturday and Sunday in McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket.

Sydney University are once again strongly represented with Blues’ opening batsman and captain of the students, Nick Larkin, and fellow Blues’ top-order player Ed Cowan, named to take on Mosman at Allan Border Oval.

The defending premiers currently sit third on the ladder and a big win could bridge the gap to Campbelltown-Camden at the top of the table.

Cowan heads into this fixture full of confidence after scoring his first century of the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket season against St George last Saturday. He made 120 during just over 2 hours at the crease, and if that similar vein of form continues this weekend, the Whales’ prospects of causing an upset could become that much more difficult.    

Two of New South Wales’ faster bowlers will play each other when Gordon host Eastern Suburbs at Chatswood Oval.

Gordon quick Charlie Stobo and Eastern Suburbs’ paceman Harry Conway will deliver plenty of speed at the bowling crease, as both men look to improve their statistics for the season to date.

Conway has played just the seven matches for Easts, but has only returned the one wicket per match at an average of 31.7. His best figures came against Manly-Warringah in round four where he picked up 4-30.

Stobo has played 13 matches for Gordon and has collected the 15 wickets at 36.8. He has the one five-wicket haul for the season, which came against Western Suburbs in round two when he took 6-74.

Experienced Blues’ medium-fast bowler, Trent Copeland, will again captain St George when they play Penrith at Hurstville Oval.

Copeland has been in good form with the bat and the ball for his club side. He has posted three half-centuries among a total of 176 runs for the season from seven matches played. His average is 44.

The St George skipper has also taken 11 wickets at 24.6 with a very tidy economy rate of 3.6.

Ladder leaders Campbelltown-Camden will be looking to maintain its position against the fourth-placed Parramatta at Raby Oval No. 1.

After becoming only the fourth player in McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket to reach 10,000 runs and 600 wickets, Campbelltown-Camden captain Jarrad Burke will be seeking to keep the runs and wickets flowing in pursuit of the Ghosts eighth win of the season.

Burke is currently second on the wicket-taking list for the campaign with 36 scalps at 13.42. He trails Western Suburbs’ Jonathan Cook by the one wicket.

Philip Wells has been the other key to the Ghosts’ success. While he has yet to make a century, his consistency has been a stand-out. He has scored 558 runs at 46.5 and is the team’s leading run scorer thus far.

Parramatta meantime will be hoping that its captain, Nick Bertus, can continue his tremendous form and apply maximum pressure to the Campbelltown-Camden attack. The wicketkeeper-batsman has made 676 runs at 61.45 with a highest score of 206 not out against Bankstown.

A victory to Randwick Petersham could push it into the top six, as they travel to the Shire to play the second-placed Sutherland.

Randwick Petersham have the leading wicketkeeper for the competition in captain Anthony Sams, who has 22 dismissals to his name, including 20 catches and 2 stumpings, from 12 matches.

Jamie Brown will be a key wicket for the hosts, especially given his recent run of form, which has seen him score two centuries in his last two matches of McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket.

Brown scored 101 against Penrith and 109 against North Sydney respectively. He has made 586 runs at 41.86.

The leading run-scorer heading into round 10 of the competition is Bankstown batsman, Daniel Solway, who has amassed four centuries and two fifties for the season. He has scored 768 runs in total at the outstanding average of 85.33.

The sixth-placed Bankstown play Northern District at Mark Taylor Oval this weekend.

In other matches this weekend, Blacktown are at home to Western Suburbs at Joe McAleer Reserve, UNSW cross the Spit Bridge to play Manly, North Sydney host Hawkesbury, and Fairfield-Liverpool are away to fifth-placed Sydney.