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Maalste rips heart from Robins’ chest

Monday, 24th February, 2020

Michael Maalste is in super form heading into the grand final. PICTURE: Michael Murphy Michael Maalste is in super form heading into the grand final. PICTURE: Michael Murphy

By Michael Murphy

Central speedster Michael Maalste ripped through the West attack in the first Barrier District Cricket League clash on Saturday, snaring five wickets and catapulting the Magpies into the grand final.

West batted first and lost opener Peter Lewis (0) early, but fellow opener Paul Attard and first drop Harry Clout then proceeded to etch out a decent partnership.

The pair put on 33 runs in nine overs and were looking comfortable at the crease until Jarred Paul entered the attack. In Paul’s first over, Clout pulled one low to the waiting hands of Scott Mateer at short mid-wicket and departed after scoring eight runs off 29 balls.

Mackenzie Attard then joined his father Paul in the middle, but after a disciplined few overs, he lost his wicket after dancing up the pitch and lofting the ball high to deep mid-on.

Luke Neal took a spectacular catch just short of the boundary to remove the West skipper.

Paul Attard, in the meantime, was building a score. He was patient and focused, relying on his immaculate timing to keep the scoreboard ticking along.

The Robin veteran cracked five boundaries and amassed 39 runs when the Magpies decided to bring on Michael Maalste.

Maalste, one of the fastest bowlers in the city, began hurtling thunderbolts. He knocked over Paul Attard’s stumps and then proceeded to maul the rest of the Robins batsmen.

Of Maalste’s five wickets, four lost their stumps. At one stage, he was on a hat-trick but missed the mark with his third delivery. Paddric Attard wisely let the zinger buzz by.

West lost six wickets for 15 runs during that disastrous spell and were well and truly on the back foot.

Maalste finished with the figures of 5/25 off eight overs.

One of the shining lights for West was their last batsmen to take the crease. Casey Ferguson batted like a champ against the Magpie machine.

The youngster looked like he was enjoying his cricket when he cracked two boundaries in a row off the bowling of Mateer.

The slightly built left-hander then got stuck into Maalste and defiantly smashed one square of the wicket for a boundary. Unfortunately for the Robins, Mackenzie Attard was umpiring square of the wicket and awkwardly fell while dodging the ball and a fielder. The Central players helped Attard off the ground because he couldn’t walk unassisted.

Ferguson scored 17 runs off 18 balls, including four boundaries, and remained not out.

The Robins were all out for 105 after 31 overs.

The Magpie batsmen easily accounted for the Robin total. Jarred Paull top-scored with a handy 32 runs off 51 balls, while Tristen Smith scored 31 of 32 deliveries.

The Magpies won by seven wickets.

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