St George miss chance to climb into top six with Hawkesbury draw, Sutherland down UTS North Sydney

In vain: St George captain Nick Stapleton made 75 in the first innings for Saints against Hawkesbury at Hurstville Oval. Picture: John Veage
In vain: St George captain Nick Stapleton made 75 in the first innings for Saints against Hawkesbury at Hurstville Oval. Picture: John Veage

St George wasted a golden opportunity to climb into the top six as Hawkesbury bravely held on for a draw on day two of their clash at Hurstville Oval on Saturday.

Saints entered the two-day, round 13 clash needing to win to keep in touch with the finals places.

But with UTS North Sydney and Bankstown falling to Sutherland and Randwick Petersham respectively, a win for St George would have seen them join Norths and the Bulldogs in equal fifth place with two rounds remaining.

St George notched 337 in their first innings last weekend thanks to a Blake Nikitaras century, leaving Hawkesbury an ominous chase on Saturday.

Hawkesbury were equal last on the table heading into the round with St George expected to take the 10 wickets required to score the six competition points.

But the visitors started strongly, with Patrick Moore (30) and Nivethan Radhakrishnan (82) enjoying a 60-run opening partnership.

Radhakrishnan anchored the innings, his patient 195-ball knock including five fours and three sixes before he was dismissed by Tom Engelbrecht as Hawkesbury's fourth wicket to fall.

When experienced captain Peter Forrest fell two runs later, leg before wicket to Peter Francis for six, it appeared Hawkesbury's resistence was finally broken with the visitors a long way from claiming a result at 5-173.

But middle order batsmen Scott Baldwin (69 not out) and Ryan Mizzi (62) refused to quit, sharing a 118-run stand to help Hawkesbury hold on, eventually finishing at 8-308 from their 96 overs.

Francis (2-71), Engelbrecht (2-81) and Nick Stapleton (2-37) took two wickets each for Saints.

The draw leaves St George five points outside the finals places with tough matches against top two sides Randwick Petersham and Sydney University to conclude their regular season.

At Glenn McGrath Oval, Sutherland scored an impressive win over finals-chasing UTS North Sydney.

Requiring 229 for victory, captain Chris Williams made a patient 70 from 177 deliveries to put Sutherland in a strong position.

Williams shared a 96-run partnership with Luke Hawksworth, whose own patient 85 from 178 balls saw the Sharks home with five wickets in hand.

St George will face a difficult trip to University Oval, Camperdown to take on Sydney University on day one of their two-day, round 14 match on Saturday.

With St George in seventh place, Saints likely need to win to have any chance of qualifying for the finals.

Meanwhile, Sutherland travel to Allan Border Oval to face Mosman.

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