PARRAMATTA had another wrenching almost-won in their penultimate first grade match of the season, against North Sydney on Saturday.
There have been compensations, however.
Bob Aitken is one of the revered names in Parramatta cricket history.
The off-spinner was part of the great days of Central Cumberland in the ’60s; the days of Richie Benaud, Doug Walters and Wal Clifton.
He played the bulk of his 365 first grade games with Cumberland, making him fifth on the all-time ladder.
Or he was fifth. Now his traitorous son Rob, who plays for North Sydney, has passed him on 366, and a proud dad was there to see it.
Dad still holds one record, however.
He took 715 wickets for Cumberland, but the second-placed Parramatta bowler may yet pass him.
The tattooed warrior Daniel Jackson, who can answer to the names ‘‘Tireless’’ and ‘‘Evergreen’’, passed 600 wickets with two scalps against Norths.
Parramatta recovered from a perilous 3-17 after being sent in on a greenish pitch to post a competitive 255 in the 120-overs match.
As he has done many times in his long career, Michael Wood stabilised the innings, spanking 44 (44 balls, 10 fours).
Then left-handed ex-Queenslander Michael Castle, in his first grade debut for the club, played a polished attack, with an innings full of powerful drives and crisp leg-side placements, before holing out on the boundary for 63 from 83 balls.
Scott Copperfield rounded out the innings with 57 from 80 balls.
The rampaging opening bowling pair of Jackson and Ben Martin had North Sydney in trouble from the start, and when the hosts were 9-133 with 10 wickets left, victory seemed certain, but the tailenders hung on and it was 9-155 at stumps. Martin’s day’s work was 5-51 from 17 overs, Jackson’s 2-22 from 12 overs and promising speedster Copperfield’s 2-30 from 13 overs.
Parramatta will host Fairfield-Liverpool in a two-dayer this weekend.
Meanwhile, fourths won a low-scoring game against Norths to consolidate their top-six place.
A win this weekend against third-placed Fairfield-Liverpool will guarantee them a place in the finals, and potentially a home final.