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Cracking opener

Saturday, 12th October, 2013

By By Square Leg

The new Barrier District Cricket League’s 2013/14 season of cricket kicks off today at the Alma and Zinc ovals with both A and B Grades confronted with the shortened version of modern cricket, 20/20 cricket.

Last season’s finalists Central and West clash at the Alma Oval in what should be an enthralling contest. 

West won the 20/20 Final last season and will participate in the South Australian Country 20/20 Championship series later this season as a result of that win. 

But Central had the last laugh over West later in the season by beating the Robins for overall 2012/13 premiership honours.

Whenever these two sides meet a great contest seems assured as neither side gives an inch and they both play with great aggression and passion. 

West were well served with the bat last season by Andrew Henry, Matt Handberg and Nick Christos. They will be looking for Henry to continue on from what proved to be his breakout season and also trust that he receives good support from the likes of Handberg, Christos, Attard and  Jelbert with the willow.

The West bowling has been its strength over the past few seasons with Christos, Attard, Malthouse and Handberg all amongst the wickets in a big way. 

There is some talk that Brenton Malthouse has given the game away and, if this is the case, the West attack will lose some hostility and penetration although, they still have the depth of bowlers to be rated a major force in local cricket.

Central again looms as one of the sides to beat in both the shortened and longer version of the game.  

Jarrod Paull proved an absolute run machine last season and if he can continue in the same vein he can lead the Magpies to another premiership tilt. Cam Wells and Matt Jardine are capable of lending good support with the willow. 

The possible transfer of Casey Paull to South will rob the Magpies bowling of some fire and penetration. 

Veteran Paul Rosebaum was the hero with the ball for the Magpies in last season’s Final however, he is likely to limit his appearances this season, if he fronts up at all. 

This could leave the Magpies looking a little threadbare and pedestrian in the bowling department unless they can uncover some additional options.

The possible lack of bowling options and penetration for Central may tilt this game in favour of West who have the batting to capitalise on any bowling weakness.

The other game at the Zinc Oval will shed some insight into the prospects of both NORTH and SOUTH for the 2013/14 season. 

Both sides are significantly impacted by shiftwork, rosters and players availability, week in and week out. 

North looks a far better side with the inclusion of Codie Howard but over the past two seasons he has only been able to play half a season due to work commitments. 

Howard, along with Tobias Hack, form the backbone of the North batting and they will be looking for better support from some of their promising juniors this season if they are to be competitive.

The North bowling lacked penetration on several occasions last season, particularly with the absence of Howard in many games, and this again shapes as their Achilles heel. 

They will be looking to likes of Lachlan Harvey to step up in his second senior season.

South’s lack of batting depth cost them dearly last season and they would have been much more competitive had they put more runs on the board in key games. 

The Roos lack nothing in enthusiasm and with the possibility of them picking up a couple of handy recruits this season they loom as the League’s big improvers.

South could have their best start to a season for a decade by snatching the 20/20 points in this game at the Zinc Oval.

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