Revitalised Roos in a thriller
Monday, 25th February, 2019
By Tyler Hannigan
The South Cricket Club has capped off their best regular A Grade season in over two decades with a thrilling one-wicket win over Central on Saturday.
While the A Grade finals were already set before round 15, South will take a slight mental edge into their semi-final matchup with the Magpies next weekend following a 35-run last wicket partnership that won the game and kept Central winless against South for the season.
Chasing 143 for victory, South were struggling at 3-31 with only Sheldon Hall (16) making a start before Matt Reavill and Andrew Suckling got the Roos back on track with a 46-run stand.
Central made an important breakthrough when Luke Neal removed Reavill for 41 from 65 balls and picked up Suckling (19) shortly after to start a collapse.
The wickets of Ryan Gillespie (0), Mani Singh (4), Laurence Hebbard (8) and Ben Franklyn (5) left South in deep trouble at 9-109, requiring another 34 runs to win.
In this situation over the past seasons South would have surrendered meekly but this South side is not like that.
They’ve improved with the bat, their bowling remains well-rounded and dangerous and, most importantly, they have confidence so it shouldn’t be too surprising what happened next.
Number 10 Nathan Waterhouse and number 11 Alex Page rode their luck and defied the Central bowlers to reduce the runs required and inch ever closer to an unlikely victory which eventually came with two overs still remaining.
Page dominated the partnership and found the boundary with regularity, striking four fours in his unbeaten 22 off just 15 deliveries while Waterhouse played the supporting role with 13 from 21 balls.
Neal was the best of Central’s bowlers, continuing his fantastic late season form with 4-28 off his seven overs. Michael Maalste was also impressive with 2-18 off seven.
Earlier in the day Central amassed 142 before they were bowled out in the 34th over.
Their innings was built around contributions from opener Tristen Smith who struck two fours and a six in a very busy 41 from 30 balls and a more patient 30 off 50 balls from Jarred Paull.
The pair added 66 for the third wicket but Smith’s dismissal brought about a collapse that saw Central lose 4-0 and slump to 6-79 before Josh Joliffe (18) and Scott Mateer (24) added some vital late innings runs.
South captain Franklyn was the chief destroyer with five wickets while Hebbard took two. Gillespie, Waterhouse and Reavill each chipped in with one wicket apiece.
While this was a fantastic win for South, it was just an entre to next Saturday’s semi-final main course.
The Magpies will regain seam bowler Ross Casey while South will have some tough choices to make as the likes of Arlen Bird, Paul Nicholas and Nathan Gageler put their hands up for selection in South’s first final since the early 2000s.