Vella stellar in Dog’s day
Monday, 9th March, 2020
By Michael Murphy
All-rounder Jordan Vella pulled off two spectacular catches to give the North Cricket Club the swagger it needed to overpower Central in the BDCL A Grade grand final at the Alma Oval on Saturday.
The Bulldogs bowled out the Magpies for 101, setting up a comfortable four-wicket victory, in the end, securing three cricket premierships in a row for the blue and white.
Both Vella’s catches came at a time when the Magpies were hoping to rebuild after losing three quality bats - Jarred Paull, Tristen Smith and Damon Pettit - for just 44 runs.
Teenager Nick Devoy was beginning to get his eye in and looked comfortable at the crease when he cracked one low and hard back to Vella, who took the catch off his bootlaces. Devoy departed for 11 off 29 balls.
A few overs later, and Vella pulled off the catch of the season.
The tricky spinner sent one down to RV Kumar, who mis-hit the ball while attempting to drive. Kumar lofted the ball over Vella’s head, who quickly turned around and bolted at least 20 metres in the same direction.
Vella would have had little time to see the ball while running with its flight. He snatched it out of the air in the last nano-second.
It was a brilliant individual effort that would have put a glint in the eye of Richie Bernaud - what a catch.
The Pies were 5/70 at this stage, and but still had a glimmer of hope at posting a decent total with Rhodes still out there.
The big man knows how to hit a ball and proceeded to demonstrate his skills when he pulled one over mid-wicket and into the Alma School for six.
But when Rhodes nicked one behind off the bowling of Nash Mitchell, Tobias Hack gladly accepted the catch.
The Magpies were 6/79, and the Bulldogs could smell the fear.
The Magpie tail didn’t wag, and they were all out for 101 off 36.5 overs.
Chase Johnson snaffled a few late wickets to become the pick of the Bulldog bowlers with 3/12, but their effort on the field was across the board, including four catches from Hack behind the stumps.
Damon Pettitt top scored for the Pies with 22.
The Magpies struck early when Luke Neal bowled Brendan Martin for a third-ball duck, but Matt Letcher and Tom Carruthers settled in and put runs on the board for the Bulldogs.
Quality quick Michael Maalste didn’t open the bowling for Central, and when he did come on only managed one over at the airport end.
Maalste has reportedly been battling back soreness, and he was a bit wayward in his first over.
After a short rest, he then came on at the city end for immediate effect, picking up the prize wicket of Tobias Hack, who departed after just three deliveries thanks to an excellent catch by Tristen Smith in the slips.
Maalste also knocked over Anthony Tidball’s stumps (3), but the Bulldogs did it easily in the end, with catches-win-matches-man Vella scoring the winning runs and remaining not out on 14.
North captain Tobias Hack lauded his team’s effort in the final, saying it was the individual efforts of each player that contributed to the win.
“It was a massive team effort to restrict Central to 101,” Hack said after the match.
“And without Codie Howard and Dan ter Braak today as well, it makes the win a little bit more sweeter.”
He said North hit a few bumps in the road before Christmas, but came out strong to win the T20 final in January and never looked back.
One of the up and coming stars of the North brigade is Austin Wilson, who is quickly making a name for himself in local cricket
“Austin has been playing with us for four years, and he’s still only 17,” Hack said.
“We are really happy with the way he has been playing.
“I think that’s his second A Grade premiership now; he wasn’t involved last year.
“But to be 17 and to win two premierships already is unbelievable.”
Hack also tipped his cap to the Magpies, saying they kept the Bulldogs on their toes in each contest throughout the year.
Central won the consolation prize, the B Grade flag, after knocking over the Warriors on Saturday.