Veteran UTS North Sydney allrounder Robert Aitken became the third player to play 450 matches in the Sydney First Grade competition, now McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket, on Saturday.
Aitken reached the milestone behind Ken Hall and Tony Clark who have played 472 and 451 matches respectively. His 13 not out on the first Saturday of the round 13 match against Western Suburbs left him 155 runs shy of 11,000 First Grade runs.
After it won the toss and elected to bat first at Pratten Park, North Sydney was dismissed for 237.
Adam Crosthwaite reached 1,000 runs for the season courtesy of his patient 69 from 173 balls. The innings also took him to top of the Premier Cricket run-scorers list two runs ahead of Parramatta captain Nick Bertus.
Bertus was unable to add to his 998 runs on Saturday. Wet weather caused by an overnight storm forced play to be abandoned for the first Saturday of the match between Parramatta and Hawkesbury at Old Kings Oval.
Crosthwaite shared an important 131-run partnership with his brother, James, who made 72 from 98 deliveries. It was the highest fifth-wicket stand in NSW Premier Cricket this season.
However, the lower order faltered for Norths. The second-placed Bears, chasing their eighth straight win, lost 6/32 to be bowled out in the 96th over.
Blacktown opening bowler Gurinderjeet Hara claimed his maiden five-wicket haul in First Grade on Saturday. He returned 6-70 from 34 overs, including 13 maidens, against Sutherland.
Hara claimed the best figures of any bowler across the nine matches that took the field on Saturday.
The men from the Shire finished the day 9/294. Tail-end batsman Jake Wilson top-scored for Sutherland with 58 not out and in the process surpassed his highest score of 51 posted during last round against Wests.
On both occasions Wilson came to the crease at No. 10. He has now made the only two-half-centuries of his First Grade career in consecutive weeks.
Wilson shared a crucial 96-run partnership with No. 8 Blues leg-spinner Daniel Fallins (56) for the ninth wicket. Jamie Brown (54) was the other batsman to pass fifty for Sutherland.
English County batsman Stephen Eskinazi made the highest score of the weekend with an outstanding 179 not out from 257 balls against UNSW at Village Green.
It was the second highest score of the season to date. Penrith batsman Cameron Weir made 180 against St George in round four.
Eskinazi shared an unbeaten 213-run partnership for the sixth wicket with fellow centurion, wicketkeeper-batsman Beau McClintock, to guide Sydney to a massive total of 5/410 by stumps.
It was the maiden century for McClintock in the top grade after nine fifties and a previous best of 71. He finished the day 109 not out from 115 balls.
Eskinazi reached the boundary 22 times and cleared it twice during his marvellous knock against the Bumblebees. Anthony Mosca also made 84 from 159 balls at No. 3 for Sydney.
Northern District top order batsman David Lowery (107) scored his second century of the season, and fifth of his career, against Bankstown.
Lowery added 145 for the fourth wicket in partnership with Daniel Anderson (84). Northern District finished the day at 8/260.
Slow left-arm orthodox spinner Ben Taylor returned the best figures for Bankstown. His 4-85 took him to 43 wickets for the season from 18 matches.
Taylor claimed his four scalps from 34 overs including 10 maidens.
Ladder leaders Sydney University were bowled out for 316 against sixth-placed Gordon. However, at one stage the students were 7/161 at Chatswood Oval.
A critical 122-run partnership between wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Cummins (80) and No. 9 Dugald Holloway (63) rescued Sydney University.
Damien Mortimer also made 71 from 116 balls at first drop for Sydney University.
On First Grade debut for Gordon, Under 19 ACT/NSW Country wicketkeeper-batsman Joshua Staines, claimed four catches behind the stumps.
ACT/NSW Country Under 19 team mate, seamer Glenn Winsor, also picked up 4-35 for Gordon on Saturday.
Winsor and Staines were an integral part of the victorious ACT/NSW Country side at the Under 19 National Championships held in Adelaide during December.
While 18-year-old Ollie Davies may have lost the toss in his first match as Manly-Warringah captain, his team finished the day well ahead against Randwick Petersham.
Manly-Warringah was sent in to bat at Coogee Oval and dismissed for 225 in the 79th over. Ahillen Beadle followed a wonderful unbeaten 101 from 118 balls against Gordon last week with another fine knock of 78 from 140.
Daya Singh claimed his second four-wicket haul in three weeks for Randwick Petersham. The opening bowler collected 4-35.
In reply, Randwick Petersham tumbled to 4/39 at stumps. Blues rookie quick Ryan Hadley (2-25) and Michael Visser (2-10) were the chief destroyers for Manly late in the day.
Singh (1 not out) and Dylan Hunter (2 not out) are the unbeaten batsmen at the crease.
Stuart Meaker, who plays English County Cricket with Surrey, led the way with ball in hand for Eastern Suburbs against Fairfield-Liverpool.
The seamer claimed 4-31 from 17 overs in a superb bowling display by Easts at Rosedale Oval. Fairfield-Liverpool was bowled out for 142 in 61 overs.
ACT/NSW Country Under 19 quick Rupert Lilburne also collected 3-34 for Easts.
The four wickets on Saturday took Meaker to 28 wickets for the season at the impressive average of 20.6.
Blues allrounder Param Uppal fell one short of a half-century and top-scored for Fairfield-Liverpool.
In reply, the Easts went to stumps at 1/74 despite the loss of Blues captain Peter Nevill for 9. Opener Henry Hunt (38 not out) and Angus Robson (26 not out) were the two unbeaten batsmen in the centre for the Dolphins.
Half-centuries to captain Nick Stapleton (72) and Blake Macdonald (70) helped St George to 6/252 by the close of play at Raby Oval No. 1.
The pair shared a 110-run partnership for the third wicket against Campbelltown-Camden.
In the other match at Howell Oval, Penrith was dismissed for 294 by Mosman. Jayden Park (4-101) returned best figures for the Whales.
The Weir brothers, Cameron and Trent, both made fifties for Penrith.
Cameron Weir made 51 from 101 balls, while Trent top-scored at No. 9 with 54 from 108.
McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket:
First Grade - Round 13:
Northern District 8-260 (D Lowery 107 D Anderson 84 C Wright 20no B Taylor 4-85 M Waite 2-30 R Williams 2-32) v Bankstown at Bankstown Oval,
Sutherland 9-294 (J Wilson 58no D Fallins 56 J Brown 54 A Bariol 35 C Williams 27 G Hara 6-70 S Irshad 2-70) v Blacktown at Joe McAleer Reserve,
St George 6-252 (N Stapleton 72 B Macdonald 70 T Engelbrecht 39no J Rose 23no I Carlisle 3-43 T Sangha 2-99) v Campbelltown-Camden at Raby Oval 1,
Fairfield-Liverpool 142 (P Uppal 49 J Maher 25 S Meaker 4-31 R Lilburne 3-34) v Eastern Suburbs 1-74 (H Hunt 38no A Robson 26no) at Rosedale Oval,
Sydney University 316 (T Cummins 80 D Mortimer 71 D Holloway 63 R McElduff 32 G Winsor 4-35 S O'Brien 2-54) v Gordon at Chatswood Oval,
Parramatta v Hawkesbury no play at Old Kings Oval due to overnight storm,
Penrith 294 (T Weir 54 C Weir 51 B Williams 41 L Masters 39 R Smith 29 T Sargeant 22 L Hodges 21 J Park 4-101 N Hinton 2-14 L Shelton 2-97) v Mosman at Howell Oval,
Manly-Warringah 225 (A Beadle 78 A Beard 44 T Kaye 30 S Webber 25 D Singh 4-35 R Ayre 3-66 A Semple 2-35) v Randwick Petersham 4-39 (M Visser 2-10 R Hadley 2-25) at Coogee Oval,
Sydney 5-410 (S Eskinazi 179no B McClintock 109no A Mosca 84 D White 3-98) v UNSW at Village Green,
UTS North Sydney 237 (J Crosthwaite 72 A Crosthwaite 69 J Avendano 22 Q Titterton 3-56 A Isherwood 2-53 C Blaxall-Hill 2-54) v Western Suburbs at Pratten Park.