A brilliant Andrew Page century has handed University the upper-hand at the midway point of their clash with Dapto.
After a patient start from top-order batsmen James Chappell and Shaun Thompson, Page produced some late-afternoon fireworks to surge into triple figures and put his team in a commanding position at 8-290 at stumps.
Despite hitting 128* off 111 balls, University captain Mitchell Hearn said Page was attacking without being reckless as he made a tired Dapto bowling attack pay for a lack of discipline in the tail-end of a long day in the field.
“It was an awesome day,” Hearn said. “We started really slowly, but that’s what we needed to do, to blunt the attack on what was a hot day. That allowed Andrew to come in later on in the innings.
“He’s been a bit out of form, so seeing him come in and be able to dominate an attack like that, is just what we needed. For the rest of the season, it might scare a few teams knowing he’s found some form.
“He knew we were looking to push on. We were looking at around 220 when he went in, but he was able to push it up to 290 with some crazy hitting at the end. His first 60 runs came off about 80 balls, then he scored 70-odd runs off about 30 balls. It was a smart innings.”
Like many of Uni’s batsmen, Page has struggled at times this season. However, now that he has broken through with a big score, Hearn is looking forward to seeing Page play a crucial role in his team’s charge towards the finals.
“We worked on a couple of things in the nets recently, trying to find a bit of confidence and he just backed himself on Saturday. I’ve been telling him he needs to back himself for a while, I think now he’ll carry that through the rest of season.”
Page’s late-innings heroics helped Uni hurtle towards 300, changing the nature of the game and providing his team with a sniff of an outright victory.
While they will look to secure first-innings points initially, Hearn has his eye on claiming maximum points next Saturday.
“We’re in a great position. We’ll be looking firstly to take the 10 wickets, then push for an outright win. Two hundred and ninety on that field is probably worth 400.”
Page wasn’t the only player to deliver a brilliant individual performance on Saturday, with Wests’ Udara Jayasundara putting his side within touching distance of an upset victory over competition leaders Wollongong.
Jayasundara took four wickets as Wollongong were bowled out for 116, then returned to score an unbeaten 54 as the Devils reached 1/98 at stumps.
Hayden McCrae’s 74 helped Helensburgh to 102, with Corrimal 2-4 in reply.
At 1-57, Northern Districts hold the advantage over Balgownie, having bowled the Magpies out for 121. Jono Fowles impressed for the Butchers, with figures of 3-14 off 7.2 overs.
Finally, Keira are 1/43, chasing Port Kembla’s 149. Captain Kyle Connor led the charge for the Lions, taking four wickets.