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Hats off to Nick

Friday, 9th December, 2011

HEAD TURNER: West cricket captain Nick Christos claimed a rare hat-trick at Alma Oval in round eight. HEAD TURNER: West cricket captain Nick Christos claimed a rare hat-trick at Alma Oval in round eight.

By John Casey

A rare hat-trick from West captain Nick Christos was the highlight of round eight of the Barrier District Cricket League where the Robins reaffirmed their status as the team to beat this season.

Christos demolished the South batting line-up with his deceptive medium pace, snapping up six wickets in just 16 deliveries at Alma Oval in one of the best bowling displays seen in recent years.

South looked set for one of their better performances of the season when they reached 1/25, but when Christos introduced himself into the attack at first change he turned the match on its head.

“It was pretty exciting,” the unassuming Christos said of his hat-trick.

“I remember doing the same thing (three wickets in three balls) in the Under 16s at Norm Fox Oval seven or eight years ago, but this is my first hat-trick at A Grade level.”

Bundled out for just 40, a demoralised South claimed just one wicket as West reached their target in the 8th over, continuing their outstanding run so far this season.

“We have tried to change things up a little this year and make it more fun for all the boys involved,” Christos said, explaining the Robins’ scintillating start to 2011-2012.

“We get together as a team after training on Thursday nights and discuss plans, like trying to take pressure off our opening batsmen.

“We have also organised some regular social events such as golf days for everyone to get together and I think that is having a positive effect as well,” Christos continued.

But as West are finding there is no better tonic than winning. The Robins are 7-1 to the half-way stage of the season, and hold a 10-point lead at the top of the table ahead of Central and a 21-point buffer over third-placed North.

South are yet to win a match this season but Christos has shown them no mercy with last Saturday’s 6/6 following up from a 5/10 haul against the Roos in round three.

Christos claimed his hat-trick with the last three balls of his first over, clean bowling Lawrence Hebbard to complete the rare feat. The West captain took a wicket in his second over and then completed the rout with two wickets in his third trip to the crease.

In contrast, the other round eight fixture between Central and North produced some fine batting with half centuries from Nick Pearce (Bulldogs) and Cam Wells (Magpies).

Wells and Jarred Paull put on a fluent 100-run partnership for Central after Matt Jardine was out for a duck in the first over of last season’s Grand Final replay.

Wells was eventually dismissed for 51 and Central lost Paull without addition to the score as North looked to contain the reigning premiers, who reached 7/160 from their 45 overs.

Nick Pearce grabbed two wickets for North and followed that up with a powerful 61 not out with the bat, but he had little support from his team-mates and the Bulldogs never really threatened to reel in Central’s score.

Pearce crashed three 6s and five 4s, taking a particular liking to the spin of Adam Armstrong and Scott Shepherd, but 13 from Ben Victory was the next best score after Pearce’s unbeaten 61.

At one stage the Bulldogs were 3/24 and they will need to find form with the bat if they are to trouble West when they clash in round nine tomorrow.

Jarred Paull completed a fine double, taking 3/16 to add to his impressive 42 with the bat.

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