1st Grade - LC 7/218 dec and 1/30 defeated Pennant Hills 125 and 119 Outright

Pennant Hills 125 (S Nicholls 6/43, G Hunt 2/20)
Lane Cove 7/218 (D Naughton 90, G Hunt 46, A Carter 37)
Pennant Hills 119 (J Scarcella 3/32, A Cornelius 2/11, S Nicholls 2/43)
Lane Cove 1/30

2nd Grade - LC 2/197 dec defeated Pennant Hills 72 and 46 Outright

Pennant Hills 72 (A Robertson 3/6, J Carmarsh 3/17, B Greaves 3/19)
Lane Cove 2/197 (P Blood 75no, B Candfield 66, J Needham 28no)
Pennant Hills 46 (J Carmarsh 4/14, B Candfield 4/18)

After what can only be described as the perfect start to the new season, the lads of second grade looked to carry their early momentum into round 7 at home. As a result of various injuries and excuses from 1st grade, the likes of Jimmy Needham and Dev were welcomed into the squad to do some damage against Pennant Hills.

The steadfast skip commenced proceedings by winning the toss and sending the visitors in to bat on a mostly unremarkable pitch, in the hope our seam attack (‘FBC’) could use the muggy conditions to draw early blood. The opening duo of Chipkin and Greavesy managed to produce a mixed bag of deliveries, however, it was the young-gun (in age only) who produced the first wicket – A well-directed delivery, cannoning in at off stump, left exposed by the batsman shouldering arms. Chants of “Benny’s back” were quickly muted when first change expert, Robbo, produced a similarly sublime, in-swinging yorker to castle the other opener. A fearsome partnership of seam bowling soon ensued with both bowlers finishing with 3 poles apiece. An ordinary spell of spin from Dev then brought the majority of the tail undone with a collection of half-trackers and the odd wicket ball. Finally, Chipkin was rewarded with the final wicket for his earlier effort/outburst(s), dismissing Penno for 72 before Tea.

The Covie batsman could smell runs from the outset and Kensell had no plans to wait around. A typical, unorthodox assault of the opening bowlers was put on full display, however soon ended on 16 before the big show could get settled. Unfortunately, the resulting dummy spit from his dismissal spewed out of the sheds and into the stands. This disruptive behaviour then continued into the scorebook with Kensell announcing Candy’s half century prematurely for the second game in a row. Fortunately, Candy, a disciplined individual, went on to make a valid half century, finishing with 66 in a rapid display of ferocious stroke play including 2 maximums and 9 4’s. Little did he know it was about to rain ‘Blood’.

Up until Candy’s dismissal, the skipper had played a supportive role in the Covie innings. Cometh 4:00pm, cometh the man. Pete, now in the driver’s seat and 6 points in the bank, went about improving his batting average and demoralising the Penno opposition. The skipper posted his half-century to a rousing applause and a fist pump for the cricketing gods after finally shinning some mercy on the war-weary batsman. Pete went onto finish an unbeaten 75* (in part thanks to some shocking Penno fielding) in an innings not unlike an episode of ‘Ex on the Beach’ – A full display of raw humanity leaving the audience feeling a bit dirty for having witnessed it. Second-grade wannabe, Jimmy Needham, also aided the Covie advance with an unbeaten 28*, putting the lads in the box seat for an improbable 10 point victory on day 1.

With less than 90min left in the day’s play, due to Penno’s slow over rate, the opening bowlers headed back out to improve on their first innings attack. Candy however, had other ideas. The local import managed to remove the opener with his fifth run out of the season, which later proved to be the final form of any batting defence for the remainder of the afternoon. The next wicket to fall came by way of Jimmy Needham behind the stumps, who quickly removed the batsman’s bails emasculating Greavesy in one swift stroke, giving him his first stumping and membership to the ‘slow to medium pace’ bowler club. The remaining 45-50 minutes of play produced some of the most deplorable displays of batting to ever grace the Tantallon pitch. The loopy leg spin of Dev returned and along with Candy, removed the majority of the remaining batting line-up. Nevertheless, as 6:30pm approached, a 10th wicket still eluded Lane Cove and negotiations could be heard between the slips cordon and the batsman, treading the line between match fixing and playful banter, so to avoid another week’s play. Fortuitously, Dev was able to dismiss the final batsman on literally the final ball of the day, again with assistance of the safe hands of Johnny. In doing so, the Covies were rewarded with an early Christmas gift with top spot on the second grade ladder, and managed to avoid one of the hottest days in Sydney the following week.

3rd Grade - LC 242 defeated Pennant Hills 219

Lane Cove 242 (R Ravi 84, S Shaik 51, P Brett 30, H Polavarapu 30)
Pennant Hills 219 (R Manchester 3/25, R Islam 3/61, A Schokman 2/35, R Ravi 2/65)

4th Grade - LC 5/217 defeated Pennant Hills 212

Pennant Hills 212 (C Bezer 4/28, B Scott 2/33)
Lane Cove 5/217 (A Sirripi 88, M Schaafsma 28, I Edmunds 27, C Forrest 27no)

The Covies went into this game hungry for the 6 points, knowing full well Penno were at the bottom of the table and momentum that could be gained from a win would be vital if for a finals push at the end of the season. Fat Skip won the toss and backed our bowlers by opting to field first. TCW and Bez opened up and bowled well but unluckily only took 1 wicket before drinks. The game quickly became a war of attrition with the Covies bowling decently on a KSO road before the Penno batsmen would latch onto a short or wide one and release the pressure. Slowly but surely the Covies picked up wickets to have Penno 9 for 185 with about 10 overs left in the day. Somehow though the final pair managed to nudge and noodle their way to stumps, picking up a valuable 30 runs on the way. Rumour has it that TCW, bowling maiden after maiden from one end during this time finally displayed some actual aggression, a rare sight from the lad. At the end of the day's play Penno was 9/211 and the Covies knew they had a great chance of getting 6 points if they could get the last wicket early and then bat sensibly.

With Day 2 shaping up as a hot one, not so Fat Skip declined the competition organisers' invitation to start early as it clashed with his Christmas party hangover recovery time, plus he knew 4s contained an elite band of athletes capable of handling the heat, albeit half of them approaching or over 40! Then in an ironic twist, Mrs Fat Skip required emergency hospitalisation, requiring the hasty arrangement of a sub fielder, and the possibility of 4s batting one short. Nevertheless day 2 started perfectly with a run out from Bez removing the final Penno bat in a selfless act by sacrificing a personal Michelle 5fa. Penno were all out for 212 (with the only run of the day coming from a rank misfield by substitute 2nd grader Chipkin - thanks for that mate).

Now it was the Covies turn to make the most of the batting paradise that is KSO. As the temperature rose to scorching levels Arun set the pace with a blistering 88, taking apart the Penno attack with slogs to cow corner and elegant cut shots. He may have been dropped 5 times, however he made the most of his luck and with Schaafs batting very well at the other end, it wasn't long before the Covies had a 100 run opening stand and the back had been broken of the run chase. Arun was bowled by their leggy for 88 and young Isaac came out to bat with Schaafs, making a run a ball 27 and making batting look easy alongside the master Schaafsma. However, Isaac was trapped lbw for 27, and Schaafs lost his wicket shortly thereafter for a well made 28. Hoody came and went when he snicked off to probably the best ball bowled all day. After this mini wobble the Covies found themselves still 50 odd behind but out come Fini and with Carson they stabilised the back end of the chase with a 45 run stand meaning that by the time Fini got out (holing out to mid on for 23) there were only 5 runs needed for victory. TCW came out batting at 7, as he now considers himself a bowling all-rounder, and struck the winning runs taking all the glory from the remarkable efforts of the other batsmen. Fat Skip arrived at the ground just in time to sing the victory song but was later out partied and out stayed by young gun Carson, freshly back from his schoolies training camp!

Overall it was a sweet and well-earned victory with a sorely needed good all-round batting performance by the lads. We can now go into 2020 with a realistic goal of making a shot at the top 6 which is a remarkable achievement for a 4th grade side that has come on leaps and bounds in the past few seasons.


5th Grade - LC 154 defeated by Strathfield 9/179

Strathfield 9/179 (A Khosa 2/26, P Edmonds 2/34, P Kandel 2/40)
Lane Cove 154 (A Khosa 40, Z Irani 37, A Coey 27)

5th Grade - LC 137 defeated by Auburn 5/139

Lane Cove 137 (A Khosa 34, Z Zreika 32)
Auburn 5/139 (A Jain 3/32)