It was a few years in the making but the new turf wicket at Olds Park made a spectacular debut in Rd 7 of the Grade Competition. It was our Fifth Grade side that was the lucky team to first have a crack at the new St George home ground. Work on replacing the old synthetic wicket with the turf wicket started over a year ago.
There were a number of St George legends on hand such as Warren Saunders, Brian Booth, Ray Davies, Sid Harris and Club President Kevin Greene to witness the start of a new era at the club with Olds Park due to become the clubs new Third and Fourth Grade home ground when it is deemed completely ready for the promotion.
The ground looked nothing short of pristine as St George skipper Warwick Hayes won the toss and elected to bowl feeling that there might be some life in the new pitch after some rain during the week.
The Saints eventually brought home a hard fought victory to get the new venue off to a successful start. The win also added to 3 other victories in Firsts, Third and Fourth Grade to make it a valuable 4 from 5 wins against North Sydney.
Blake MacDonald was the star of the show in 1st Grade helping the Saints to 8-302 with his Maiden Grade century of 122. He was supported by skipper Nick Stapleton with 82. It was new debutant Michael Kennedy who starred with the ball claiming 4-25.
2nd Grade could only muster 8-171 off their 50 overs with Nowra boy Kaleb Phillips bringing up his 4th half century (55) from 4 innings since coming to Sydney. North Sydney won by 7 wickets.
In 3rd Grade it was Bhodi Johnston who took his 3rd Grade tally to 280 at 93 with an innings of 70 that helped seal victory with the Saints chasing a modest 136 for victory.
In 4th Grade the Saints set a decent target of 7-221 with Eric Serra compiling 69. For the 2nd game in a row veteran Paul Witherly claimed 5 wickets (5-35) to ensure North Sydney would fall short.
In 5th Grade North Sydney finished with 9-130 with Hamish Solomons enjoying favorable bowling conditions claiming 5-18. St George found themselves in a spot of bother at 5-39 before Warwick Hayes and Sam Konstas steadied the ship to help the Saints to a historic victory.
The Green Shield campaign also started on Thursday in a tough manner with Bankstown claiming a 9 wicket victory. They next play Mosman at Hurstville Oval on Tuesday the 19th.
This Saturday will see the final game of the year when the Saints take on Parramatta with 1st Grade being hosted by Parramatta at Old Kings and 2nd Grade at Hurstville.