Saturday, 21st February, 2015
By Square Leg
Game looms as a preview to final
The clash between Central and West at the Jubilee Oval today takes on the look of a dress rehearsal for the BDCL final to be conducted in two weeks’ time.
Despite fears that they would go backwards after the Christmas break due to key players leaving town, the Magpies have steeled themselves in the second half of the season to such an extent that they now find themselves as minor premiers for the third consecutive season.
They can now install themselves as red hot favourites to win a third straight premiership if they can beat West today.
West has rebounded strongly in the space of three weeks since only scoring 35 against the Magpies in their last encounter at the Alma Oval.
Much of that recovery rests on the shoulders of Tim Clarke who has been in top form with the bat in the past two weeks.
Clarke will find the faster and truer deck at the Jubilee Oval more to his liking and he did make 130 not out against South beforeChristmas on the same deck.
He must make at least 50 in this game for the Robins to be competitive as the rest of the West bats have been a little bit hit or miss this season.
The strength of the Central side rests in its depth in batting and the consistency of its bowlers.
The Magpies bat right down the list and always seem to have someone capable of making match-saving runs when required.
Jarred Paull looked in good touch with a small cameo innings against South last weekend and I am tipping that he could be in for a good day with the bat on this good wicket.
But it is Central’s bowling that could tip the scales in their favour. Hannon, O’Malley and Rosenbaum are very tight, giving away very few runs and always honing in on the pegs.
This builds pressure and the West batsmen showed in their last encounter, and in last year’s Final, that they don’t handle this type of pressure well.
On a good batting deck there should be a mountain of runs scored in this game. The more reliable and consistent Central bowling attack should, however, prove to be the difference between the two sides in the final analysis.