Pies eye spot in GF
Saturday, 17th February, 2018
By Tyler Hannigan
Central can lock up top spot and yet another A Grade cricket grand final berth with a win today but it won’t be easy against second-place North at the Alma Oval.
Having both played very little cricket after the Christmas break due to the heat, both sides will be eager for match practice as the finals draw ever closer.
The Magpies comfortably handled South in round 12, bowling the Roos out for 89. They were never troubled in the chase and despite losing four wickets, top run scorers Jon Carrett and Jarred Paull weren’t required at the crease and Riley Elvery was unbeaten having only faced three balls.
Ross Casey with four wickets, David O’Mally with three and Justin Heath’s 44 off 41 balls were the stars of Central’s win although out of those three only Heath is set to play today.
In that same round North cruised to a 58-run win over West but they did stutter with the bat. At 2-95 a big total looked on offer but a big collapse saw them all out for 121. Captain Tobias Hack (49) and Codie Howard (42) were the only batsmen to reach double figures.
Thankfully for North though their bowlers backed them up, dismissing West for just 63. Jordan Vella (4-14) and Nash Mitchell (3-19) were the main destroyers.
Vella is the competition’s best bowler after Christmas having taken nine wickets in two games to be A Grade’s equal leading wicket taker.
Mitchell and Logan Berryman are out from that game but Matt Letcher and Eddie Morgan come into the side. Morgan previously played district cricket in Adelaide but work commitments out of town has meant he’ll only play his first game for North today.
A Grade’s leading run scorer Tobias Hack is coming off a stellar senior country cup carnival in Adelaide where he finished second on the runs tally with 235 at an average of 58. He’s Broken Hill’s best batsman and is the prized wicket of North’s line up.
Howard, Letcher and Morgan will look to support while Vella, Brendon Martin and Shane Dalby offer great depth lower down the order.
As Central go in without O’Mally and Casey, expect Carrett and Adam Rhodes to get more of a bowl along with Tristen Smith, Luke Neal, Michael Maalste, Scott Mateer and Paull.
Batting wise the Magpies are very strong with a top six of Carrett, Elvery, Heath, Paull, Rhodes and Smith.
When these teams last met in round eight top spot was up for grabs but it was Central who proved too good by five wickets. They bowled North out for 95 and hauled in the target thanks largely to Jarred Paull’s 48 off 58 balls.
North missed a number of opportunities in that game and they cannot afford a repeat performance today if they are any hope of defeating the reigning premiers.
The Bulldogs sit 10 points behind Central with a round left after today. A win by North, especially with at least one bonus point, would set up a very intriguing final round with top spot still up for grabs. Central will be aiming to make sure that isn’t the case with a win today.
North- T. Hack (c), M. Letcher, C. Howard, E. Morgan, L. Larkins, J. Vella, A. Wilson, B. Martin, S. Dalby, T. Davey, J. Savage, E. Thomas (12th)
Central- J. Paull (c), S. Mateer, A. Rhodes, J. Heath, R. Elvery, J. Carrett, T. Smith, L. Neal, M. Maalste, J. Cain, D. Pettitt