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Favourites West go down in tight contest

Monday, 3rd March, 2014

The victorious North team leaves the field after toppling West in the Barrier District Cricket League preliminary final on Saturday. PICTURE: Ethan James The victorious North team leaves the field after toppling West in the Barrier District Cricket League preliminary final on Saturday. PICTURE: Ethan James

By Ethan James

North have booked their place in the Barrier District Cricket League final after a tense 18-run upset win against West at the Alma Oval.

It was the second time in two weeks North had toppled their more-fancied rivals - a team that they hadn’t beaten in four previous match-ups this season.

It was a day for the veterans, with Brett Johnson (North) and Pat Attard (West) showing the way for their respective teammates.

Batting first, North posted a competitive total of 170 which was boosted by a late-innings cameo of 44 not out from Johnson. He hit seven fours in the unbeaten knock.

In reply, West’s chase went right down to the wire, with Attard playing a similar hand to Johnson.

Coming in at number six with the score at 4/35 after a top order collapse, the all-rounder rescued the West innings and almost singlehandedly got them home.

With batsmen continually falling at the other end, Attard farmed the strike with the lower order and also struck two massive sixes.

However, his lone hand proved in vain as the discipline of the North paceman was too hard to handle.

Kieran McEvoy opened the bowling for North, removing both openers with some accurate swing bowling.

He received good support from Chase Johnson, while Codie Howard was economical - he also claimed the scalps of Matt Handberg and Liam King.

On a wicket that kept low, the skidding spinners of Jordan Vella also proved hard to get away.

Earlier, North elected to bat first but looked in some trouble early with both openers back in the sheds for a score of just 20.

The old firm of Howard and captain Tobias Hack steadied the ship and put on a 51-run partnership that featured some heavy hitting against the spin bowling of Matt Handberg.

But paceman Callum Rosewarn delivered the double strike, removing Howard and Hack to leave North teetering at 6/117 in the 29th over.

Johnson then boosted the total to 170.

He then finished the match by claiming the last wicket of Scott Withers courtesy of a great diving catch from Shane Staker.

After clearly being the second best side throughout the regular rounds, West were left disappointed with the match that drew some comparisons to their ill-timed battling display in last season’s final.

The 50-over final between Central and North starts at 10am Saturday, March 8 at Alma Oval.

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