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Heat on Roos, Robins

Saturday, 1st February, 2020

Tristen Smith plays a lone hand against the Bulldogs in the T20 final two weeks ago. The Pies will be hoping he continues his good form today.  PICTURE: Michael Murphy Tristen Smith plays a lone hand against the Bulldogs in the T20 final two weeks ago. The Pies will be hoping he continues his good form today.  PICTURE: Michael Murphy

By Donald Trump

South take on North at the Alma Oval today at 10am in a match which may be reduced to a T20 due to the BDCL heat policy.

For those unaware, if the temperature is forecast for 43 degrees then all cricket will be called off. If the temperature is between 40-43 degrees, then matches are reduced to a T20 game.

It’s crunch time for South who sit just above West on the ladder but only on percentage.

They will face a very strong looking North outfit, who even without Wilson and Hall, will be very hard to beat.

North bring in Johnson and Staker as replacements in a line-up that can demolish any team in town.

The league leading run scorer ter Braak will be looking to continue his sensational form with the bat (316 runs at an average of 31) and no doubt the ball as North flex their muscles heading towards finals.

Backed by Howard, Hack, Letcher and Martin they really do have the ability to post a score of 250 plus in the long format.

Their biggest strength however is in their bowling unit, consisting of paceman Davey and Jonson, medium pacers Howard and Savage and spin bowlers Vella and ter Braak, even without their strike bowler Wilson, locally it doesn’t get much better.

Against the might of the Bulldogs will be a South line up missing Hall, Reavill, Lihou, Gillespie, Nicholas, Gepp and Browne ... South’s top five run scorers are in this group.

The positive thing is South has the bye in B Grade, giving the next tier of players a shot at the big time.

In comes D. Gray, M. Gray, Carlaw, McQuillan and Gageler, some handy ins but the entire team needs to contribute with the willow.

One thing that Captain Franklyn demands of his troops is resilience, their bowling attack is up there with the best, Waterhouse and Hebbard will need to strike early allowing Page and new leg spinner Holmes some room to work their magic.

This really is David versus Goliath, but cricket is a funny game and can turn within a few balls. South will need everything to go their way in this one though.

Players to watch: from North, Johnson, and from South, McQuillan.

Tip North in a canter.

The other game is Central versus West on Sunday at 10am.

In the exact same predicament as South, West are playing for survival.

They have a great mix of players but have been hampered by availability.

They beat South last start, which will boost their confidence knowing they are possibly a win away from playing finals, a big turn around from last year when they finished last.

West have made one major change, with Paul Attard out and Harvey in. Harvey is in great touch coming off a ton and a five wicket haul in his last start in B Grade. West again will have a settled bowling line up and with both a leg spinner (Handberg) and an off spinner (Carrol) both at Captain Attard’s disposal. 

Central haven’t looked as dominant in the last few rounds, losing to North last week, clinching the win against against West in the last over the week before and failing to bowl South out in round 9.

This won’t worry them too much as they settle their line-up and try to hold onto top spot.

They currently sit four points above a rampaging North outfit, so they will be hoping to beat West comfortably and secure some bonus points.

Paull will be out for blood after he and Heath are both coming off ducks and if the Central openers can get of to a decent start and allow Paul to settle in, West may be chasing a big total.

Rhodes will also be looking to get into the runs as too Smith. Central will be without Maalste but with an array of bowlers on hand should be able to cover the young fast bowler.

Players to watch: from West, Harry Clout, and Central, Justin Heath.

Tip: Central but West will push them.

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