Illawarra will take plenty of confidence into the upcoming Sydney Grade Cricket 20-20 competition after chasing down 166 runs in 19.1 overs to beat Sutherland at North Dalton Oval on Wednesday night.
The trial win was Illawarra’s first victory over a Sydney grade side and came on the back of aggressive batting at the top of the order after Sutherland chose to bat first.
‘‘It’s the first time we’ve won against a Sydney first grade squad so we’re pretty happy,’’ coach Dean Merola said.
‘‘It’s always hard to bat second under lights so it was a good win.’’
Sutherland finished their 20 overs at 4-166 but Merola said his side was confident of chasing down the runs.
‘‘I think our batting is very strong,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s probably the strongest side we’ve put together in recent years so I was confident we could get the runs.
‘‘They’ve got a good bowling attack; they’ve got a few guys who’ve been taking wickets. Nathan Fitzgerald was the top wicket taker in Sydney grade cricket last year so I thought it was a great chase.’’
Balgwonie’s Dave Murphy got off to a flyer when he blasted 29 runs off 17 balls opening the batting with skipper Graeme Batty, who notched 26 off 22.
Kiera’s Tim Laws also impressed with an innings of 45 off just 25 balls.
‘‘I think the two key innings were David Mercy and Timmy Laws,’’ Merola said.
‘‘Dave got 29 off 17 rocks and Timmy Laws from Kiera got 45 of 25 and that was pretty much the key to the game.
‘‘I think Dave still has the record in Sydney for [the] fastest hundred so he just likes to hit the ball; he doesn’t block too many.’’
Illawarra play Bankstown in their second trial next week ahead of their competition opener against Parramatta on October 27 and are confident of mixing it with Sydney’s best.
‘‘Looking at some of the players we’ve got in the squad we’ve got a lot of experience compared to what we have in the past so there’s already a lot of confidence there,’’ Merola said.