A test of South’s mettle
Saturday, 16th February, 2019
By Tyler Hannigan
In what could be a preview of this year’s A Grade decider, North take on South at the Alma in a top of the table clash.
Last time they met:
North 6 for 81 (C. Howard 22, T. Hack 21; L. Hebbard 2-18, J. Simpson 1-8) def South 77 (M. Reavill 42; J. Vella 2-8, J. Savage 2-12) by 4 wickets with 6 balls remaining.
South could manage only 77 in the T20 game between these two teams in round 11 with Matt Reavill scoring more than half of their runs. North had a few hiccups along the way but eventually hauled in the total with four wickets and an over to spare.
North - WWWLW
The Bulldogs bounced back from their shock loss to Central in round 12 to thump the Robins last weekend at the Jubilee Oval. Tobias Hack and Codie Howard both made half-centuries as North amassed 9-215 before Jordan Vella ripped through West with six wickets.
South - WWLWW
After that round 11 loss to North, South have been in terrific form especially with the ball. They bowled West out for just 58 to win by 107 runs and followed that up with a 65-run win over Central, dismissing the Magpies for just 65.
North - T. Hack (c), J. Vella, C. Howard, M. Letcher, B. Bergman, L. Larkins, A. Wilson, J. Savage, T. Davey, D. ter Braak, K. McEvoy, B. Martin (12th), E. Thomas (13th)
All-rounder Josh Savage returns to the line up along with pace bowler Tom Davey while Luke Hall is out and Brendon Martin is 12th man.
South - B. Franklyn (c), S. Hall, P. Nicholas, M. Reavill, A. Bird, M. Singh, R. Gillespie, J. Harvey, N. Waterhouse, L. Hebbard, T. Hannigan
Ryan Gillespie is a big inclusion for South having not played since late 2018 due to injury. He’s played a couple of impressive knocks but the Roos will be hoping he can find some form heading into finals.
Mani Singh and Jason Harvey also return to the side with Tyson Boland and Nathan Gageler missing out while Matt Lihou and Alex Page have moved back to B Grade.
Dan ter Braak - North
Dan ter Braak, North’s boom recruit, finally got going with the bat last weekend having failed to pass 20 in any of his previous four innings for the club. He looked in fantastic touch as he crunched six fours and a six in his 36-ball innings of 40 against West.
There’s no doubting his class and it was a matter of when, not if, he found some form and he might just be peaking at the right time with finals just weeks away.
While his returns with the bat have been below-par, ter Braak’s leg spin has been more than handy for North as he’s claimed six wickets at an average of 14 from 16.4 overs.
Ryan Gillespie - South
Gillespie made a fantastic start to his career at South with 47 runs in the opening game of the season. Since that he’s also managed 38 against Central but only low scores in his other four knocks.
His last game for the Roos was back on December 1 with injury and work commitments keeping Gillespie sidelined ever since but a return on the eve of finals will be a massive boost to South as they look to continue their dream run this season.
While South have proven to be clearly the second best side in the competition this season, they’ve been found wanting in each of their previous three encounters with North, especially in the 40-over games.
South’s in-form bowling unit against the likes of Bergman, Hack, Howard and ter Braak should be worth the price of admission alone, if it actually did cost anything to watch local cricket.
This could also well be an early grand final preview if results go as expected and both sides will be eager to take some form of psychological edge into that game if they can.
WHAT: North v South
WHEN: Today, 12:30pm
WHERE: Alma Oval