Last weekend was a big one for #TeamUNSW as our players showed their spirit and determination at fields and pools all over Sydney.


After a momentous season for the UNSW Raiders, grand final day finally arrived, bright and mostly smoke-free. The Raiders women were up first, competing for the Opal Bowl against the Northern Sydney Rebels, so far undefeated in season 2019. It was a classic David v Goliath battle. The Raiders had a grind of a season, fighting for every win and getting themselves to the grand final through grit and determination. Outside the club there was the assumption that the Rebels would continue to cruise through and take the bowl. But within the Raiders environment, the players, coaches and supporters knew these women had the ability to pull off something very special. And that is just what they did. Led by a stunning performance from MVP Shell Crisp, who had an incredible game, throwing for a TD, rushing for a TD and a scoring 2 point PAT, the Raiders put on a show worthy of an inspirational sports movie, coming away with the Opal Bowl with a 22-8 win.

The Raiders were fierce and determined throughout the grand final.
The Raiders were fierce and determined throughout the grand final.
Raiders women triumphant with the Opal Bowl trophy.
Raiders women triumphant with the Opal Bowl trophy.

The men's game followed and despite their most valiant efforts and their excellent season, the Raiders weren't able to come away with the victory, going down 32-38 to the Northern Sydney Rebels. The Raiders played with passion and heart throughout a nail-biting game against a tough opposition. Sadly, the scoreboard didn't reflect the success and culture within the club at the end of the game, but there was a lot of pride and celebration of a brilliant season. Coach Andrew Brundu summed it up best when he said "We might not have won, but just have a look at what we have. This is special. You can't put a price on family."


Another tough week for First Grade who were defeated by an uncharacteristically quick scoring Gordon in their first win of the 50 over season. Universities won the toss and chose to bat, but four quick wickets saw them at 4/12 and in big trouble. When they lost big hitter Bess Heath for four, things looked very dire indeed. Captain Olivia Porter dug in and her resilient innings of 42 off 112 pulled Universities out of their rut and they built up a defendable total. Erica James came in at number six and thanks to Porter's steadfast batting was able to add a quickfire 45 off 35 to speed up the run rate. The team finished all out for 154 after 48 overs. In reply, Universites knew they needed regular wickets to stop Gordon chasing down their total, but unfortunately they didn't come regularly enough. Sophie Munro (2/22) and Samantha Robinson (2/23) did their best, but in the end, Gordon were able to get there in 42 overs.

It was better news in Second Grade, where Universities were able to come away with a strong win to take them into the Christmas break. Our women won the toss and sent Gordon in, captain Darshana Kannan putting faith in her bowlers, which they immediately repaid. Bernice Harpley took two quick wickets to put Gordon at 2/2, finishing with figures of 3/24 in an outstanding performance. Gordon were all out for 122 after 41 overs. Universities were strong in reply, with Kannan contributing a quick 22 at the top of the order and and Kate Owen with 28. They chased the total down in 41 overs to take the win.

Another tough game in the Under 18 Brewer Shield saw a dominant batting performance by Gordon prove hard to counter. Ellie Sheppard and Madeline Case snagged a wicket each, but not much else went Universities' way as Gordon smashed their way to 3/268. Sarah Brine was the shining light of the batting for Universities with 22, but the team only managed 81 in the chase, all out after 36 overs. 


Halfway through the final two day game before the Christmas break, First Grade's game is still anyone's for the taking. A five-wicket haul from Vivek Kashyap (5/108) was a highlight of the innings, but with Bankstown finishing on 9/352, a strong batting performance will be needed. It didn't get off to the best start, with UNSW at 1/4 after the first five overs, but they will resume with Himanshu Kakkireni and William Calov at the crease to chase down the imposing total.

In Second Grade, UNSW batted first and put on a good total of 324, anchored by Benedict Geddes who finished with an incredible 154. Connor Jackson was admirable in support, chipping in 54. They tried to take a quick wicket by getting Bankstown in for a couple of overs at the end of the day, but couldn't quite manage it, Bankstown surviving the two overs to resume at 0/5 this weekend. In Third Grade, UNSW batted first, but struggled to put together a partnership, finishing all out for 174, with Jake Greenberg (38) the top scorer. Bankstown are 3/88 in reply, with UNSW looking to smash out some more quick wickets.

Bankstown batted first in Fourth Grade and UNSW started well with a couple of quick wickets courtesy of Brendan Napier and Danny Bhandari. Bankstown finished with 253 after 45 overs. Unfortunately a couple of quick wickets also started UNSW's innings and they resume tomorrow at 2/6, looking to rebuild and chase down the total. In Fifth Grade, UNSW finished the first day at 8/225, with captain Josh Gavan the top scorer with 80. 

On Sunday our Under 21s had a great win in the Poidevin-Gray Shield, taking down Sydney at Drummoyne Oval. Sydney won the toss and batted, but they didn't account for the wicket-taking sensation that is Tom Scoble, who ripped through the batting line, finishing with figures of 4/34 as Sydney reached 9/208 after their 50 overs. Not content with his century in Seconds on Saturday, Benedict Geddes smashed out another one, with 102 off 115 to set up the chase. Vishwas Saini added another 56 and UNSW had the total in under 47 overs.


A fantastic week for the UNSW Swimming Club at NSW Senior Stage Age Championships this week, finishing with 22 medals; seven gold, 10 silver and five bronze and 44 finals appearances. You can read all about their fantastic performance in our latest news.