Sydney Grade Cricket

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Sydney Grade Cricket is a cricket competition played in Sydney, Australia. As of the 2016-17 season, Sydney Grade Cricket is now referred to as NSW Premier Cricket. The name change was part of a Cricket Australia initiative to standardise the naming of the elite men's cricket competition within each state's capital city. The competition began in 1893 when a number of clubs, which had been playing for many years on an ad hoc basis, voted to create a formal competition structure.[1]

This competition has grown substantially since its formation and by the start of the 21st century the Sydney Grade Cricket Competition encompassed 20 clubs. In the late 1990s there was a structural reform of the competition with a number of club mergers (such as the merger of Randwick and the Petersham-Marrickville clubs), the renaming of clubs to reflect their wider representation (Waverley renamed as Eastern Suburbs) and the inclusion of clubs from the second-tier shires competition (such as Blacktown). Each of the 20 club fields a side in each of the five senior grades as well as a side in the Poidevin-Gray Shield and AW Green Shield junior competitions.

The Sydney grade cricket competition is played on Saturdays and begins on the last Saturday of September and continues until the grand final is played on the first weekend of April. Spectators are few and far between at matches, with less than 50 people on average. Almost all are family members, partners or club members. The exception to this is at T20 matches which can attract crowds into the hundreds and the occasional one in the early thousands.

In recent times some clubs have started broadcasting scorecards in real-time on the Cricket Australia website. Some clubs also have detailed video and photographs each weekend. Most but not all clubs actively update their website and have information across a variety of social media platforms.

Players for the NSW team are selected from the first-grade competition. While modern day cricketers have few breaks outside the international calendar, when they do NSW players often return to play in the first-grade competition. Sydney grade cricket also has a proud history of welcoming budding, current or former first-class and Test cricketers from around the world. Players are primarily sourced from England's county competition. In 2015-16, there were over 10 players in the competition plying their trade in the first-grade competition. In the late 1990s Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss among others played seasons in Sydney. Such is the strength of the competition that some players have been known to play multiple matches in second grade.

To address shortcomings in players making the transition from first-grade to State cricket, two seasons ago a different type of ball was introduced into the first-grade competition. This ball is the same used by state players but had not previously been used due to its cost (A$150 each). While the ball is still a four-piece ball, its seam is less pronounced and more difficult to swing. Bowlers, in particular fast bowlers, have had to work much harder at getting wickets. Since its introduction scores within the competition have increased. There have been higher team and individual scores (400+ scores by teams are not the rare occurrence they once were).

Clubs[edit]

Clubs in the 2016-17 season of Sydney Grade Cricket are:

Former clubs[edit]

Sydney's suburban sprawl over the past 120 years has seen the introduction of new outer-suburban clubs and the disappearance or mergers of some inner-city clubs. The most successful club no longer in the competition is Paddington which won nine first grade titles between 1894–95 and 1953-54. Other ex-clubs include Burwood, East Sydney, Glebe and Newtown. Petersham and Marrickville had each won a first grade title prior to merging to become Petersham-Marrickville. They won four titles as a merged outfit before merging again with Randwick, which had won seven titles, to become Randwick-Petersham.

Grade Cricket[edit]

The competition consists of 20 clubs who field one side in each of the five grades. In the 1st Grade competition, each side plays every other side over a total of 19 rounds. All other grades play only 15 rounds, thus missing out on playing 4 teams each season. The additional 4 rounds that are played by the 1st Grade sides are generally one day matches that take place on Sundays (won by Sydney University in 2010/2011).

The 2010-2011 season, for all grades, includes 10 two-day matches (generally played on two consecutive Saturdays), 4 one-day matches and 1 Twenty-20 match. The 1st Grade sides played an additional one-day match and 3 Twenty20 matches. The 1st Grade Draw can be found here [3] and the 2nd Grade draw, which is identical to the 3rd, 4th and 5th Grade draws, can be found here [4].

The final series generally consists of Qualifying Finals, Semi-Finals and a Final. These matches are played over two days, with the First Grade Final being played over three days. In the Qualifying Finals, the 1st placed team plays the 6th placed team, 2nd plays 5th and 3rd plays 4th. The three winning teams (or better placed team in the case of a draw) and the best placed losing team go through to the Semi-Finals.

Points are allocated to the teams according to the results of each match. These points go towards the Club Championship which is awarded at the end of the regular season.

All of the current NSW first-class cricket players are selected from their performances in Grade Cricket. This includes those players who also represent Australia although the demands of the international schedule means the Australian players rarely get to play at grade level these days.

First Grade Premiers[edit]

  • 2015/2016 Bankstown
  • 2014/2015 Manly-Warringah
  • 2013/2014 Sydney University
  • 2012/2013 St George
  • 2011/2012 Sydney University
  • 2010/2011 Sydney University
  • 2009/2010 St George
  • 2008/2009 St George
  • 2007/2008 St George
  • 2006/2007 Bankstown
  • 2005/2006 Fairfield-Liverpool
  • 2004/2005 Sydney University
  • 2003/2004 Eastern Suburbs
  • 2002/2003 Sydney University
  • 2001/2002 Fairfield-Liverpool

Poidevin-Gray Shield[edit]

The Poidevin-Gray Shield, or PG's as it is more commonly known, comprises teams who represent their grade sides in an Under 21 competition. All points received in this competition go towards the Club Championship.

A W Green Shield[edit]

The A W Green Shield, or Greenies as it is more commonly known, comprises teams who represent their grade sides in an Under 16 competition consisting of 7 preliminary rounds, qualifying finals, semi-finals and a Final.

The North Sydney Bears team of 2008/2009 is regarded as the best team to win the A. W. Green Shield, defeating Blacktown three times that season including in the final at North Sydney Oval.

Club Championship[edit]

Won by the club with the highest competition points in aggregate across all 5 grades plus points from the PG and Green Shield competitions. Points are only accrued across round matches and do not include finals.

For each club, each grades' points tally is multiplied by a factor for the purposes of calculating Club Championship points. A point in first grade is worth more than second grade and so on. Due to this system, the winner of the Club Championship usually comes from a club whose first-grade team is within the top 6. However, consistency across the top 3 grades in particular is important.

Club Championship Factors

First grade = 6 points per competition point, Second grade = 5, Third = 4,Fourth = 3, Fifth/PG/Green Shield = 2.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b [1] Archived May 24, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ AA
  3. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20130409021258/http://eastscricket.com.au/index.php/mens/about-us. Archived from the original on April 9, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2012.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Strauss a travelling batsman". Sydney Morning Herald. 14 November 2006. 
  5. ^ [2] Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]