Minor Premiers Sydney University and second-placed Penrith will contest the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket Grand Final after both teams secured draws in the semi-finals over the weekend.

Both semi-finals that took place across Saturday and Sunday were rain affected. In a tense encounter that went down to the final overs, Sydney University avoided first innings defeat against Sydney, who fell 20 runs short of victory, with one wicket in hand.

While, Penrith finished 5/163 in reply to 4/253 declared by UTS North Sydney at Howell Oval.

The deciding match of the Belvidere Cup starts on Friday at Bankstown Oval.

It will be the third consecutive final for Sydney University and the first for Penrith since 2002/03 when the Students defeated the Panthers by 15 runs.

Despite the draw with Penrith, leading run-scorer in McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket, Adam Crosthwaite (39), finished his campaign with 1,186 runs at an average of 62.4 including five centuries.

The North Sydney batsman was just 14 runs short of joining former Blues opening batsman Greg Mail and Philip Wells as the only players to twice score 1,200 runs in a regular season.  

Sydney top-order batsman Anthony Mosca (63) also went past 1,000 runs for the season, and 5,000 for his career, in the draw with University.

He has amassed 1,026 runs for the season at 44.6, and now has a First Grade career tally of 5,039, including eight centuries.

North Sydney captain Justin Avendano did his absolute best to get North Sydney into the final with a magnificent 143 not out from 186 balls against Penrith.

His innings included 16 boundaries and five sixes. The hard-hitting Sydney Sixers batsman finished the season with 527 runs at 43.9.

Norths added 133 on day two before they declared. NSW Blues batsman Ryan Gibson was key to guiding Penrith into the final.

He remained unbeaten on 78 from 150 balls. The next best score was opener Brent Atherton (33) before rain halted play late on day two.

Penrith captain and seamer Ryan Smith claimed all four wickets to fall for Norths. He returned 4-94 from 20 overs.

Right-arm quick Oliver Knight (3-33) collected best figures for the Bears.

Sydney University resumed at 6/158 on Sunday after it had won the toss and elected to bat.

The students scored more than 100 runs on day two before they were bowled out for 267.

Seamer Dugald Holloway, batting at No. 9, was crucial to that total. He made 49 from 121 balls to steer his side past 250.

Captain Liam Robertson (52) was the only Sydney University batsman to make fifty. Pace bowling allrounder Ryan Felsch (3-51) claimed best figures for Sydney.

The Sydney University total set up a tantalising chase for Sydney. The Tigers were 7/199 late on the second day, and with Sydney Sixers off-spinner Ben Manenti at the crease, there appeared hope of the upset.

The No. 8 made 54 from as many balls and was the ninth wicket to fall just before bad light was called. The Tigers finished 9/248.

Sydney wicketkeeper-batsman Beau McClintock continued his terrific run of form on Sunday with his second successive half-century.

He made 52 from 60 balls at No. 5. In his final six innings of the season McClintock made 335 runs at the outstanding average of 111.67.

Left-arm seamer Hayden Kerr (2-37), leg-spinner Devlin Malone (2-81) and Holloway (2-24) were the multiple wicket takers for Sydney University.

Malone maintained his lead at the top of the wicket takers list. He has claimed 63 scalps from 27 matches.

McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket – Semi-Finals:

First Grade:

Sydney University 267 (L Robertson 52 D Holloway 49 T Cummins 41 R McElduff 35 R Felsch 3-51 A Glendenning 2-28 N Bills 2-72) drew Sydney 9-248 (A Mosca 63 B Manenti 54 B McClintock 52 R Felsch 35 L Scott 24 D Holloway 2-24 H Kerr 2-37 D Malone 2-81) at University Oval,

Penrith 5-163 (R Gibson 78no B Atherton 33 O Knight 3-33) drew UTS North Sydney 4(dec)-253 (J Avendano 143no J Crosthwaite 45no A Crosthwaite 39 R Smith 4-94) at Howell Oval. Play abandoned at 6.22pm due to rain.

Grand Final (29-31 March): Sydney University v Penrith at Bankstown Oval.

Second Grade:

Sydney University 234 (M Hope 70no N Craze 49 D Miller 35 V George 26 B Simpson 6-56 T Garg 2-33 D Heward 2-40) bt Bankstown 146 (M Hinds 49 B Le Bas 28 B Joy 3-43 C Cassell 2-21 D Miller 2-38) at Coogee Oval,

Parramatta 215 (W Affleck 56 A Talwar 56 S Cassel 42 L O'Farrell 25 J Workman 24 B Mitchell 4-61 A Squire 3-57 A Bloomfield 2-20) and 1-82 (W Affleck 53no) bt Sydney 201 (J Mosca 57 L Gibson 29 M Kent 25 A Squire 25 T Affleck 4-23 S Cassel 4-71) at Old Kings Oval.

Grand Final (29-31 March): Sydney University v Parramatta at University Oval.

Third Grade:

Sydney University 315 (C Litchfield 108 M Moran 82 J Hill 47 B Larkin 26 A Schipp 5-82 W Marshall 3-79) bt Bankstown 87 (I Ridley 29 M Dedes 28 T Kierath 4-7 J Toyer 3-18) at St Paul’s Oval,

Eastern Suburbs 7-224 (M Morley 115no J Remond 46no M Sarkies 28 N McLachlan 2-23 R Bishop-Perrett 2-32 A Hicks 2-41) bt Manly-Warringah 141 (I Vumbaca 46 Z Trewartha 44 M Brewster 25 M Morley 3-22 M Sarkies 3-27 J Remond 2-34) at Waverley Oval.

Grand Final (30-31 March): Sydney University v Eastern Suburbs at Coogee Oval.

Fourth Grade:

Manly-Warringah 187 (J Daly 86 A Somerville 40no B Frost 5-27 J Lawson 3-71) bt Sydney University 161 (L Coelho 44 B Dilley 32 J Lawson 20no J Moffat 6-44 J Davies 2-16) at Tunks Park,

St George 367 (B Newport 86 E MacMillan 50 E Serra 38 D Cassar 35 E Jamieson 30 J Vella 28 T Kennedy 25 A Brooks 3-53 C Thompsett 3-74 T Brown 2-85) bt Eastern Suburbs 202 (J Bank 66 S Powell 32 C Lomas 21 D Hart 3-25 R Krause 3-33 D Cassar 2-37) at Hurstville Oval.

Grand Final (30-31 March): St George v Manly-Warringah at Hurstville Oval.

Fifth Grade:

Sutherland 209 (J Dimas 50 N Whittingham 39 F Graham 38 B Piggott 34 R Padhye 5-63 A Howard 2-43 L Johnston 2-49) bt Fairfield-Liverpool 193 (J Towerton 78 R Padhye 24 T Marlin 21 N Whittingham 5-38 M Holmes 2-42) at Glenn McGrath Oval,

UNSW 178 (J Roach 49 D Bhandari 48 O Prakash 4-44 M Mariguddi 2-44 A Oli 2-55) bt Mosman 151 (H Farquharson 24 O Prakash 23 I Robinson 21 M Mariguddi 21 J Hardwicke-Owen 3-26 D Carew 2-25 M Law 2-27) at Allan Border Oval.

Grand Final (30-31 March): Sutherland v UNSW at Glenn McGrath Oval.