Two in a row
Monday, 11th March, 2019
By Tyler Hannigan
The Bulldogs showed their class in Saturday’s Demo Club A Grade decider by trouncing Central by 102 runs and claiming their second consecutive premiership.
Central captain Dave O’Mally won the toss and curiously opted to bowl on an Alma Oval that produced over 400 runs in last weekend’s semi-final between Central and South. Central batted first that day and won by four runs after posting 5-206 from their 40 overs.
The Magpies did have success chasing down 161 against North in round 12 when these sides most recently met which might have influenced their decision to bowl first.
The call looked like it might have been a smart one early on as Ross Casey removed North opener Matt Letcher (0) and the classy Eddie Morgan (0) from consecutive deliveries before Bill Bergman’s attacking innings of 25 came to an end to leave the Dogs wobbling at 3-38.
Codie Howard and Dan ter Braak then steadied the ship and proceeded to move their side into a strong position with a 92-run stand.
While ter Braak struggled with his timing, he provided great support to Howard who looked a class above much like he has all season. Howard struck a six to bring up his fifty, his fourth half-century from his last nine innings.
Adam Rhodes eventually made the breakthrough, getting a ball through ter Braak’s defences to bowl the Dutchman for 34 off 49 balls, but such is North’s batting depth that his dismissal just brought Tobias Hack to the crease.
Both Hack and Howard received lives thanks to dropped catches but Luke Neal was able to hold onto a catch to finally end Howard’s innings on 71 from 84 balls which included eight fours and one six.
Hack didn’t last much longer has he offered an easy chance to O’Mally at midwicket and was gone for 23. Josh Savage (0) fell the very next ball thanks to a superb diving catch by wicket keeper Tristen Smith but Nash Mitchell managed to deny Rhodes a hat-trick.
At 7-183, North were in the driver’s seat but Jordan Vella (23 not out) and Mitchell (9 not out) put on the finishing touches with a 26-run stand as the Bulldogs finished on seven for 209 after their 40 overs.
Casey (3-17 off six overs) and Rhodes (3-23 off eight) were fantastic with the ball for Central but the decision to send North in had definitely not paid off.
The Magpies showed last week that they could score 200-plus but chasing in a final presents its own pressures. They needed a strong start and while they lost both Damon Pettitt (1) and Rhodes (1), Smith and Jarred Paull kept them in the game.
The pair added 36 runs before Smith tried to reverse sweep Vella’s first delivery and was given out LBW for 30 off 46 balls with that dismissal turning the game fully in North’s favour.
Elvery and Paull looked to be building something with a 15-run partnership until some fantastic work by Bergman behind the stumps started a collapse.
Bergman, standing up to medium pacer Savage, took a quality catch to send Elvery packing for eight and then completed a brilliant leg-side stumping the very next ball to dismiss Josh Joliffe.
Vella followed that up with the wicket of Paull, who was caught by Howard after trying to clear the long-on boundary, and then bowling O’Mally in the same over as Central lost 4-0 across two overs.
From there the game was gone with Scott Mateer (20) becoming Vella’s sixth wicket as Central were bowled out for just 107.
Keiran McEvoy and Savage bowled well to take two wickets apiece but Vella’s 6-28 off eight overs was easily the standout performance.
These two teams met in last season’s grand final and while North’s win in that game was seen as an upset, this past Saturday went just as many expected given their dominance throughout the season that saw North win 12 out of 13 possible games and finish on top of the ladder.
Central did well to even make the final following a very up and down season that saw them finish a distant third to South. They did hit form at the right time though, which allowed them to edge out the Roos in the semi-final but they were no match for North on Saturday.
North 7 for 209 (C. Howard 71, D. ter Braak 34, B. Bergman 25; R. Casey 3-17, A. Rhodes 3-23) def Central 107 (T. Smith 30, J. Paull 20, S. Mateer 20; J. Vella 6-28, K. McEvoy 2-12) by 102 runs