Saturday, 2nd February, 2019
By Tyler Hannigan
Fresh from claiming the T20 title, North will be looking to continue their unbeaten run when they take on Central today at the Jubilee Oval.
Last time they met:
North 9 for 141 (B. Bergman 43, C. Howard 21; R. Casey 3-12, L. Neal 3-17) def Central 114 (M. Maalste 42, J. Paull 26; N. Mitchell 3-4) by 27 runs
It was a day of missed opportunities in round nine for Central as they gave Bill Bergman multiple lives on his way to 43. Even then, restricting North to 141 gave the Magpies a real chance of winning but their batsmen couldn’t get it done, eventually falling 27 runs short with Michael Maalste’s 42 the highlight.
North - WWWWW
The Bulldogs dream run continued prior to the Australia Day bye as their bowlers led them to a four-wicket win over South. Jordan Vella (2-8 off four overs) and Josh Savage (2-12 off 3.2 overs) were the pick of the bunch.
Central - LWLLL
Since their first and so far only win over West in round six, Central have struggled with two losses to North and another last week against West. A run of form this poor hasn’t struck Central in a very long time.
North - T. Hack (c), J. Vella, B. Bergman, M. Letcher, C. Howard, B. Martin, L. Larkins, J. Savage, N. Mitchell, K. McEvoy, T. Davey, E. Thomas (12th)
Just the one change for the Bulldogs as Tim Hunter goes out for the returning Bergman who is enjoying a great year back in A Grade with 223 runs at an average of 31.86.
Central - D. O’Mally (c), M. Maalste, J. Paull, R. Elvery, A. Rhodes, T. Smith, B. Malthouse, R. Casey, D. Pettitt, L. Neal, S. Mateer
Jarred Paull is the big inclusion after missing round 11. Riley Elvery, Ross Casey, Luke Neal, Scott Mateer and Brenton Malthouse join Paull in returning to the side.
Aaron Williams, Lachlan Erskine, Ethan Kelly, Jason Maalste and Nick Devoy are the omissions and Devoy could count himself unlucky after being the pick of the bowlers against West.
Kieran McEvoy - North
McEvoy has been a fantastic servant for the North Cricket Club over the last five seasons with 45 wickets at an average of 16 across both A and B Grade. He’s a genuine swing bowler, able to move it both ways.
McEvoy’s best return was in 2016/17 when he took 15 A Grade wickets at 13.67 from 14 games.
Scott Mateer - Central
While only playing limited cricket so far this season, and most of that in B Grade, Mateer remains an important member of Central’s squad thanks to his sharp fielding, busy batting and wicket-taking bowling.
Having taken 28 A Grade wickets since 2015/16 and a best of 4-26 last season, Central skipper Dave O’Mally would be well advised to call upon Mateer’s off-spin today on a Jube pitch that may offer some turn.
It’s a well-balanced and in-form North side who will be aiming to stay undefeated this season. Bergman and Tobias Hack are going well with the bat while Tom Davey and Jordan Vella take wickets consistently but the star is Codie Howard who leads both the A Grade batting and bowling with 251 runs and 18 wickets.
Central are not without hope but would need to improve dramatically, especially batting-wise, if they’re to have any chance today against the ladder leaders. There were good signs last round with Tristen Smith’s half century but others need to stand up as well.
Paull’s return is massive as he can win a game on his own with bat or ball. He remains the prized wicket of the Central batting order.
WHAT: North v Central
WHERE: Today, 12:30pm
WHEN: Jubilee Oval