Saturday, 23rd January, 2016
By Square Leg
Central and West meet in today’s Barrier District Cricket League game of the round at the Jubilee Oval.
Both sides are certain to play finals cricket and with nothing separating the two in the first half of the season, today’s contest seems certain to be an absorbing affair.
They have lost key players over the Christmas break and it will be the team with the greatest capacity to fill the void that could triumph at the end of the season.
Central will be a little under strength today due to the absence of a few of their school teachers who are yet to return to the city.
Cameron Wells, John Carrett and Paul Gauci are notable absentees from the Central batting line-up and this places much more pressure on the likes of Justin Heath, Matt Menz and Jarred Paull at the top end to perform with the willow.
Junior Michael Maalste pulled the Magpies out of the mire last weekend against North and may have to repeat that performance today.
The West bowling was steady against South last weekend with Shaun Wilson being the standout performer. Wilson, Liam King and Kyle Jelbert will need to bowl consistently well with the new ball and receive good support from Peter Christos and Matt Handberg if they are to restrict the Magpies to a gettable score of around 150 runs.
West’s top end batsmen were fully tested by the South bowling attack last weekend and they will need to improve on that effort if they are to be competitive against Central.
The return of veteran Paul Attard to the side will certainly help as he has been in great touch with the bat this season. Everuss, Jelbert and Handberg need to make themselves the mainstays of the West batting line-up this weekend if the Robins are to come out on top.
Liam King’s batting effort last weekend was good and perhaps he deserves a lift up the order.
Central welcomed the return of Casey Paull to local cricket last weekend and he, along with David O’Malley, will carry Central’s hopes of making some early breakthroughs in the West batting.
The Central support bowling looks to lack penetration with the loss of Shepherd and Hannon and this may be an area that West may be able to capitalise on if their batsmen fully apply themselves.
West won their last encounter against Central before Christmas and I think they can repeat the dose again today. The Central bowling drops away after the first change and I think the West batsmen have the opportunity to establish a mental edge heading towards the final.