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Bulldogs off to a flyer - r1                                         2016-17

The Bankstown Sports Bulldogs started the quest for back to back premierships with a resounding victory over arch rivals St.George last Saturday at Hurstville Oval.  Master coach Gary Crowfoot has been the driving force behind Bankstown's success in recent years and together with all-rounder and never say die skipper Jarrad Burke the pair have proved an indomitable combination. The Bulldogs batted first on Saturday and spearheaded by run machine Phil Wells ran the Dragons ragged. Savage stroke-maker Wells proved equal to the threat posed by the highly rated bowling attack that contained international stars Trent Copeland and Moisés Henriques. After losing Daniel Solway early, Luke Reece with 27 and Wells added 70 in fine style.  Mitch Brown, who transferred to the Bulldogs from Sutherland this season, joined Wells and the runs flowed freely. They took the score to 188 when Brown fell for an entertaining 74. His innings delighted the crowd as he plundered five spectacular sixes from just 63 balls. Wells was at his classy best as he guided the Bulldogs to a respectable 8-261. Wells has been the scourge of bowlers in recent years and the backbone of the Bulldog batting lineup. His innings of 127 included 15 fours and one towering six.

In reply the highly-credentialed Saints outfit was cruising at 2-159 but this Bulldogs outfit simply refuses to give in and it was no surprise when their fighting spirit came to the fore again on Saturday. Tear-away young pace-man Ayden Brown removed the troublesome McCabe then skipper Burke struck with his usual wicket. Mitchell Phelps showed he is more than ready for representative honours when he took the prized wickets of Henriques and Copeland to give the visitors added momentum. As the highly rated Bulldogs attack swung into full stride it was the youngster Brown who shone with a hostile spell, returning the impressive figures of 3/52. After a taste of first class cricket last season Nathan McAndrew showed he would once again be every batsman's nemesis claiming 3-52, including a magnificent hat-trick as the Dragons capitulated and the Saints went marching out. The home side finished with 211 and the Bulldogs could not have had a better start to the season. Special mention should be made of the brilliant wicket-keeping of Michael Stretton that included two amazing catches as part of McAndrew’s hat-trick. Stretton finished with three catches and a neat stumping to round off a wonderful personal effort. Bankstown has another difficult game next week against the classy Manly outfit at Manly Oval.

Second Grade

Led by Matthew Smith, Bankstown only scored 147 when chasing the Dragons 8-200 at Jensen last Saturday. Luke Docherty kept the Bulldogs in the game with 3-37 in his aggressive spell. He moved the ball around appreciably and troubled all batsmen. Brendan Smith claimed 2-43 in his lively effort and the bowlers toiled hard all day. The batting was a major disappointment. Opener Bailey Dickinson scored 22 and Chris Ridley 26 in his welcome return to the Bulldogs. Brendan Smith completed a fine all-round effort with a fighting 32 as those around him failed.

Third Grade

Bankstown's 9-210 proved too many for the Dragons who did not breathe much fire with 194. The Bankstown batting was a solid all-round effort with Iain Ridley paving the way scoring a confident 46. Fellow opener Toby Dodds scored a determined 25 and looks a good prospect. Kane Grove added a defiant 43 which kept the Doggies barking. Connor Wilkinson compounded the Dragons woes with a confident 30 and Jehan Bilimoria chimed in with a useful 25 not out. The irrepressible Bilimoria created havoc amongst the Saints batsmen and ripped through them with 5-61. The lively quick received great support from Dayne Heward whose aggressive 3-34 completed the Bulldogs dominance.

Fourth Grade

Bankstown's 150 did not test the Dragons lineup and the Saints went marching in with 4-151. Alex Schipp top-scored with a defiant 33 and proved himself as a valued all-rounder. Niran Wijawardene compiled a useful 28 in fine style but the rest of the batting was disappointing. Saints had little difficulty with this meagre total and cruised to victory

Fifth Grade

Bankstown's 7-164 was not nearly enough to trouble the Dragons who cruised to 6-165 in reply. Ryan Malcolm gave the Bulldogs a great start with a spirited 59. It was an accomplished knock from the talented stroke-maker. Evergreen Geoff Spotswood showed the youngsters what Bulldog spirit was all about with a defiant 27. Last season's Player of the Year, skipper Mat Kelly, weaved his magic with the ball and claimed 3-20. Daniel Slane impressed with his tidy spell and claimed 2-30 in a useful effort.