With a little less smoke haze predicted for this weekend, hopefully there will be more pleasant conditions. Our thoughts are with those who are most affected by the NSW bushfires and, although this is unusual for a sporting organisation, we are desperately hoping for rain.


It's a very cricket-y Around the Grounds today, so let's kick it off (or hit it off perhaps) with some of our elite current and former students delivering for their teams in the WBBL semi finals. Carly Leeson didn't get a bat in her Melbourne Renegades' semi-final against the Brisbane Heat, but she was brought on in a clutch moment to bowl and did the job, dismissing the dangerous Grace Harris who had rushed to 42 from just 27 balls. The Renegades unfortunately couldn't stop the Brisbane Heat, who won the game and eventually the final for the second year running.

Georgia Redmayne played for the Perth Scorchers in the other semi-final and had some work to do after her captain Meg Lanning was out for one. Redmayne came in with her team on 2/23 after almost five overs with the run rate dangerously slow and not many recognised batters to come in. She smashed 51 from 42 balls, including her first ever WBBL six and put the team into a position where they could pull together a defendable total. Unfortunately they weren't able to stop the Adelaide Strikers in the end, but it was a sensational game from the UNSW Medicine graduate.


Redmayne backed up with a strong performance for Australia A against India A in Brisbane yesterday. She took two stumpings off the bowling of her captain Tahlia McGrath and opened the batting with a solid 20 in a game that India A won by 16 runs.

Congratulations also to young Jack Attenborough from UNSW Cricket Club who was sensational for NSW Metro at the Australian Under 19s Championships, with one century and three half centuries from eight games. NSW Metro won the championships, defeating Victoria Country by 48 runs in the final.

Jack Attenborough
Jack Attenborough celebrates his century at the Australian Under 19 Championships in Perth.


Another tough game for our First Grade team this week, unable to pull off the win against a determined Sydney side at David Phillips South. A duck to perennial top scorer Bess Heath wasn't the way the team wanted to start after losing the toss and being sent in. Mariam Bank went soon after for just one. However opener Zoe Benjamin (24) and captain Olivia Porter (55*) put up a strong stand to breathe some life back into the innings. However eventually Porter ran out of partners as Universities were all out for 117 after 44 overs. Sydney's innings started in much the same way as Universities' did, with their opener Jodie Hicks going for a duck. Although our bowlers were able to take regular wickets, the total proved too hard to defend, with Sydney taking the game by one wicket in the 46th over. Zoe Benjamin (3/10) was sensational with the ball, backed up by Porter (2/19) and Stella Campbell (2/16), fresh off her first WBBL season.

Second Grade took their first win of the season, with a sensational batting and bowling performance at Ryde Oval. Captain Darshana Kannan led the way with the bat, with a measured 49 at the top of the innings, with Lucie Gordon going hard for 70. Despite a few ducks late in the innings, the team were confident with their total of 7/201. Sydney had a strong start, but the Universities bowlers continued to chip away until wickets started to fall. An incredible 4/14 from Bernice Harpley and 4/28 from Emily Watts put the nail in Sydney's coffin as they were all out for 145.

While Third Grade had a well deserved break, the Under 18 Brewer Shield team played their first game of the season. Unfortunately they couldn't get past a dominant Sydney side, but will look to bounce back next week. A run a ball century from Samira Dimeglio for Sydney proved hard to come back from but wickets to Ellie Shephard, Alexandra Toshack and Sophie Pitkethley helped control the pace. Sydney's bowling was too strong in reply and only captain Taylah Withers (29) was able to make it out of single figures.


Well things weren't looking great for First Grade at the end of Day One and, while they didn't come away with a win, they avoided the outright loss and had a stronger second innings. Sydney Uni declared at 1/151 and sent UNSW back in, where despite the loss of a few early wickets, they stayed strong through captain Brandon McLean's 79. Suthangan Thanabalasingam also contributed a valuable 42. 

Second Grade also had a loss and unfortunately this one was an outright loss against a dominant Sydney Uni team. A brilliant century to Benedict Geddes wasn't enough to save the first innings, with UNSW all out for 157 in reply to Sydney Uni's 241. With plenty of overs still available to them, Sydney Uni put on a quickfire 1/155 and declared, before managing to bowl UNSW out for 204. A defiant 52 from Ridham Vadalia was the highlight of UNSW's innings but it wasn't enough to hold off the outright loss.

The losses continued with Third Grade falling to another strong Sydney Uni team. UNSW weren't able to back up a strong bowling performance from Day One as the first three batters only managed one run each. Jake Greenberg at number seven top scored with 45, but it wasn't enough to save the game and UNSW were all out for 123. Things weren't any happier in Fourth Grade, as UNSW worked hard to defend a total of 131, but Sydney Uni amassed enough small double figure scores to get them across the line by four wickets. 

Fifth Grade were a shining light, coming away with a solid win. After dismissing Sydney Uni for 159, UNSW made a strong start to their innings, with Daniel Siu top scoring for the team with 82. At 5/219 the team decided to declare and go for the outright win. They had a valiant go at it, but Sydney Uni managed to hang on, despite excellent bowling from Daniel Bowcock (2/21).


A massive win for the men's team over Sydney Uni 62-45 sends them into the Waratah Bowl this weekend. Winning in what the players described as a 'dog fight', both teams put everything on the line to pursue a berth in the championship.

"I think two of Australia's best teams battled to the final whistle" Coach Medrano said after the game. "To their credit Sydney Uni have been in the Grand final for 20 years in a row and they knew how to bring it in the finals." The Raiders will now face Northern Sydney Rebels in the grand final.

The women's team also had a big win, defeating Sydney Uni 28-16 to head to the Opal Bowl and go for glory. And as you can see, they're pretty excited about it.

The women's grand final will be held at 2pm on Saturday 7 December at Campbelltown Stadium, followed by the men's grand final at 5pm. Make sure you get down there and cheer our teams on and hopefully we see the Raiders walk away with the double. If you can't make it out to the ground, you can follow the action live on the Gridiron NSW Facebook page.