After a solid preseason, the Campbelltown Camden Ghosts cricket club celebrated the opening of their 30th season with some outstanding individual performances.
First gade travelled to the beautiful Coogee Oval where captain Scott Coyte won the toss and decided to bat on the traditionally flat Coogee wicket.
After losing opener Josh Clarke LBW for 2 runs, Ryan Gibson joined Damien Mortimer at the crease and began a majestic innings of 129 runs, with Mortimer reaching 57 before losing his wicket.
Together they put on 134 runs for the second wicket as Gibson ruthlessly pounded 19 boundaries in his 163 minutes at the crease.
Mortimer was the first to return to the sheds, making way for Scott Coyte, who was bowled inside of 10 minutes for 8 runs. Coyte was replaced by his brother Adam, who partnered Gibson for a steady partnership scoring 49 as the Ghosts look set to post a large day one total. The Ghosts at one stage were 3-235, only to collapse in the mid afternoon and scramble to 10-283.
Captain Scott Coyte was disappointed that a possible unbeatable total was not achieved but was highly complimentary of Ryan Gibson’s effort.
“He would not have looked out of place in the State team. The discipline and timing he showed was great to watch,’’ Coyte said.
“Ryan was superb today. I look forward to watching him all year,” Coyte said.
Randwick – Petersham’s run chase has begun slowly and after 32 overs went to stumps at 2-67, so the Ghosts return to Coogee next Saturday with the game in the balance.
The Raby Sports Complex hosted round one matches in second and fourth grades over two consecutive days to accommodate the Australian University Games which are being played at Raby this week.
Second grade spent all Saturday in the field despite winning the toss and sending Randwick Petersham in on a fresh wicket. In perfect conditions the locals made costly fielding mistakes as Randwick-Petersham played through day one and returned on Sunday to bat on for the first hour, before declaring at 7/306.
The Ghosts run chase on Raby 1 was impressive and looked likely to overtake the Randwick Petersham score.
Zac Churchill opened the innings posting 44 runs in a gritty performance against some lively bowling. Jordan Gauci also showed his class and left spectators at Raby excited about the young right hander’s future. The 16 year old Gauci played with experienced composure for his 65 runs while laying a foundation for Ben Bourke to completely dominate the Randwick-Petersham bowlers for a brilliant 78 runs.
Bourke’s shot selection and concentration was superb and his striking of the ball was clean until he was run out for the last wicket. The Ghosts second XI fell 42 runs short, finishing with 10/264.
Ghosts second grade captain David Ward walked away from the loss with plenty of positives: “We bowled and batted quite well I thought; dropping five catches shows us how important it means to take our chances when they come,” he said.
Ward was impressed by his young bats Churchill and Gauci and agreed with those in the crowd that should Ben Bourke continue to bat like he did a return to first grade is not far away.
At Petersham Oval the Ghosts third grade captain Michael Baker started the season well by winning the toss and then opening the bat scoring a workmanlike 60 runs. Baker combined well with his young opening partner Jarred Lysaught who started his season with 42. However, the rest of the Ghosts young bats struggled and ended their innings inside 63 overs for 191.
Third grade bowlers Josh Appleton, Mitch McGrath and Jordan Browne bowled the locals back into the game in the 19 overs that remained. Randwick-Petersham are nervously poised at 3-31 when the game resumes at Petersham next Saturday.
At home on Raby 2, the Ghosts fourth grade have already taken round 1 points. Chasing 139 runs, veteran skipper Todd O’Keefe (32 runs) steered the locals home after a tremendous innings of 45 runs from Ethan Gillion.
The achievable target was created due to some great bowling from Tristan Ross. The locals were more than satisfied to witness Moeed Rana and his captain score 19 runs for the last wicket to take the points.
The Ghosts fifth Grade travelled to Kensington Oval and were humbled for 76 runs as Matt Price scored almost half of them with 33 runs.
The Randwick–Petersham side have taken first innings points and will start the second day’s play with a lead of 23 runs and one wicket remaining.
Johnathon Reid 3-16 and Jake Moon 3-15 have bowled the Ghosts back into a chance of a second innings win.
Captain Michael strong remains convinced that young Ghosts can win the match and post a second innings total to tempt a risky run chase from the opponents.
By Jason Ellsmore