Coogee Oval was treated to a star studded match up for our 1st Grade opening day match up with Randwick Petersham. The Saints lost the toss and were sent in, and despite 3 current and former Test players out on the field, it was the handsome duo of Blake Macdonald (104 off 92) and Nick Stapleton (108 off 125) who stole the show early, the pair putting on 176 for the 2nd wicket, both registering tons to kick off the season. Even with the boys posting a strong total of 277, getting over the line with a certain D. Warner opening up for Randwick was going to be tough. With world class Warner at one end, the boys did a fantastic job to bring the game down to the very last ball, young Peter Francis the standout bowler with 3/50. A resilient effort with a lot of positives heading into round 2!
To our lower grades and our 2s started promisingly at Olds Park, the new ball partnership of the returning Eric Denhartog and new boy Jono Craig-Dobson claiming 2 poles each to get the season underway. Chasing 219 on the gigantic Olds boundaries, it was always going to be a tough ask, and in vein of the effort of club icon Ross Vergopoulos (72), we came agonisingly short by just 8 runs.
3rd grade enjoyed a much better day, where in the morning it was all about Dylan Bennett. Playing on debut the Central Coast boy took 4fa, a run out and a freak caught and bowled in helping the Saints clean up Randwick for 177. Then kick started the Corey Fogarty show. Corey delivering a throwback to his under 14 days as he deposited the Randy Petes attack to all parts of the ground in a clinical display, finishing 103 not out and securing 6 points for the boys.
4th grade put together one of the most complete performances of the last few years. After missing the majority of last season with stress fractures, Blake Denney announced his return with a stunning 4/16. Meanwhile, club legend Rod Krause showed that he needs no pre season, tweaking his way to a stunning 4/12 as the lads rolled Randwick for 85. Jackson Shaw then came out like he had a plane to catch, smashing 62 not out off 67 balls, including a gigantic 6 in the second over. The lads chasing it without loss and setting up a bonus point win to get the ball rolling.
Lastly to our mighty 5s, where another returning player James Stirton scored 59 in setting up a total of 186. Are we witnessing another Steve Smith story with bowler-turned-batsman looking impressive in the early stages? It would surprise nobody that Paul Witherly was in the wickets, taking 4-34 as the boys closed out a 25 run win. 3 from 5 and a solid start for the club. Bring on Hawkesbury!