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Blistering Bulldogs go from last to finals

Thursday, 28th February, 2019

North’s Austin Wilson after taking five wickets in Saturday’s B Grade clash with Central. PICTURE: Supplied North’s Austin Wilson after taking five wickets in Saturday’s B Grade clash with Central. PICTURE: Supplied

By Tyler Hannigan

There were sensational scenes at the Zinc Oval as North pulled off a miraculous win in the final round of the Credit Union B Grade cricket on Saturday.

North went from looking at a wooden spoon to playing finals in a matter of hours after a blistering run chase saw them claim victory over Central and leapfrog them into third spot on the B Grade ladder.

Having been set 122 to win, the Dogs needed to pass that mark within 15 overs to claim two bonus points which would get them into the finals.

Needing more than eight runs an over on the usual green Zinc wicket, North’s batsmen had little choice but to go hard from the outset, which openers Luke Hall (14 off 11 balls) and Shayne Staker (13 off 10) did.

Quinton Beavan (6) came and went but North continued to push on despite losing wickets regularly.

Anthony Tidball and Dylan Millsteed added another 30 runs to the total before Tidball was caught for 15 off 12 deliveries. Millsteed (16 off 18) and Austin Wilson (14 off 11), who had earlier starred with the ball, put on a 16-run stand but were both dismissed with the score on 88.

At 6-88, North needed another 34 runs in short time for victory and the required bonus points.

Jarron White and Ashley Richards were able to push the score to 111 before Richards fell for 10, followed by Bailey Shepherd for just one. Thankfully for North, White was able to keep a steady head and score the winning run off the last ball of the 15th over.

White finished unbeaten on 20, with four boundaries, and Nathan Webb at the other end on one as North completed a two-wicket win and booked themselves a finals spot.

Jaxon Cain and Jason Maalste each claimed two wickets for Central.

Earlier in the day Central were bowled out for what was thought to be a competitive 121 thanks to 28 from Lachlan Erskine and 22 by Maalste. Wilson was the chief destroyer for North as he claimed 5-21 while Joel Shepphard also picked up three wickets.

Having sat last on the ladder with 32 points heading into Saturday’s game, North finished it on 40 points and in third spot following their terrific performance and they’ll take on West in the semi-final next Saturday.

Across town the Warriors were far too strong for West. 

They played with much less on the line given they had top spot locked up and West were assured of a place in the semi-final.

Batting first on the synthetic Norm Fox Oval pitch, the Warriors plundered West’s bowling attack on their way to 9-172 off their 30 overs. Ash Bates led the way with 93 and was well supported by Dale Dwyer’s 25.

Lachlan Harvey continued his fantastic all-round season with 4-13 to be the pick of West’s bowlers.

In reply the Robins’ top order collapsed including the big wickets of Jordan Meehan for one and Harvey for four. In all, the top six batsmen contributed just 11 runs between them. 

Some resistance came from Craig Burke, playing with sons Tom and Jack, and Zel Nejaim with the pair eventually pushing West’s total past 100. Burke made 38 from 41 ball with five boundaries while Nejaim finished unbeaten on 27.

Eric Underwood (4-12), Bates (3-16) and Tom Kennedy (3-23) took the wickets for the Warriors as they dismissed West for 102 to complete a comfortable 70-run victory.

The Warriors will now have the week off and await the winner of North and West in the semi-final this Saturday. 

It was an incredibly close year in the B Grade with only four points separating second and fifth. 

South were sitting second after round 13 but after a loss to the Warriors and the bye, find themselves with the wooden spoon while Central will be ruing that they couldn’t take Saturday’s game into the 16th over and secure the one point they needed to qualify for finals.

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