Bulldogs complete miracle
Monday, 11th March, 2019
By Tyler Hannigan
North’s amazing late season B Grade run was capped off with a grand final win in a see-sawing match against the Warriors at the Zinc Oval on Saturday.
The Warriors batted first and made a positive start, moving to 31 thanks to Rhys Pavlich (26) and Chris West (12) before North’s Luke Larkins struck to remove West.
Regular wickets continued to fall with the experienced Ash Bates (1), Shane Dalby (8) and Leigh Scoble (1) coming and going in quick fashion.
Kane Dwyer managed 15 runs before some quick work by wicket-keeper Anthony Tidball saw him stumped and sent marching back to the grandstand. The wickets of Eric Underwood (3), Liam Smith (3) and Dale Dwyer (0) followed soon after to leave the Warriors wallowing at 9-73.
At his point the grand final looked headed for a quick end but Shaun Kemp and Tom Kennedy weren’t about to give in that easily. The pair added 53 runs for the 10th wicket with Kemp dominating the partnership.
He struck four fours and four sixes before his innings came to an end on 46 from just 25 balls. Kennedy finished not out on seven as the Warriors posted a competitive 126.
Larkins put the disappointment of missing out on A Grade selection behind him to star with the ball. He claimed 4-8 off six overs while leg-spinner Luke Hall also picked up 3-29. Austin Wilson, Ben Victory and Tidball each chipped in with a wicket each.
Despite that last wicket partnership, 126 was still a very gettable chase and a great start by openers Shayne Staker and Victory had the Bulldogs cruising at 0-71 but given how close this B Grade season has been, there was always going to be another twist or two in the tale.
Kennedy made the breakthrough that the Warriors so desperately needed when he removed Victory for 17 off 47 balls before a double strike by Bates to dismiss Tidball (2) and Brendon Martin (0) off consecutive balls.
Larkins (1) couldn’t back up his form with the ball and Hall was the second batsmen of the innings dismissed for a golden duck. If North were wobbling at this point then they had the full shakes when Bates trapped Staker LBW for 44 off 57 balls.
From 0-71, the Bulldogs were now 6-78 and required 49 runs from 54 balls to win the premiership.
Six runs came from the 22nd over but just 10 came from the next three overs as the Warriors tightened the screws. Batsmen Jackson Schorn and Dylan Millsteed needed a big over to ease the pressure and got just that as they took 20 from the 26th over, bowled by former Bulldog Shane Dalby.
From there it was elementary and the win was sealed by a six over square-leg from Schorn which started the raucous celebrations from North players and supporters. North’s turnaround from last heading into the final round to premiers is nothing short of amazing and they thoroughly deserve the premiership.
For the Warriors it’s more grand final heartbreak. This is now their sixth grand final loss in seven years having missed last season’s decider.
North 6 for 129 (S. Staker 44, J. Schorn 26*, D. Millsteed 20*; A. Bates 3-21, C. West 2-16) def Warriors 126 (S. Kemp 46, R. Pavlich 26; L. Larkins 4-8, L. Hall 3-29) by four wickets