Round 7 – Review
Well, the deed is almost done – at least we know the combatants in Sunday’s Casuarina All Sports Club One-Day Grand Final to be played at DXC Area. Southern Districts and Darwin will be the combatants.

I wrote last week that in my view Palmerston had the toughest task of the three teams vying for final playing status when they were fixtured to meet Waratah. Dare I, yes, I will! – I was correct because Tahs found their undoubted mojo and despite a Connor Carroll century (108, 98bf, 7x4, 7x6) put paid to Palmy’s dream of a final’s appearance. A return to form of top-class batting duo Isaac Conway (74) and Austin Umpherston (50) chased down the Maroon competitive (10-223) with seven wickets in hand and earlier, master spinner Udara Weerasinghe produced some magic (4-28, 10 overs) in holding Palmerston to that total.

That win reduced some of the agony experienced by Darwin after falling to a rampant Tracy Village by three runs at Kahlin Oval. Momentarily, that is until the Red Cap victory became a reality, the Eagles had missed the chance to compete for the silverware, but relief was the result of the Waratah victory. Tracy’s win was meritorious on a couple of fronts: firstly, they were sent in on an uncharacteristic Kahlin wicket which was sticky and swathed in grass and secondly, their newfound belief was apparent when at 7-176 Darwin was on track to pass the required 9-190. But with all the top liners including Josh Kann, Todd Murphy and Reiley Mark bowled out, captain Kann turned to Josh Hoffman (3-21) and Antum Naqvi (2-40) to finish which they successfully accomplished. Three wins on the trot for the Villagers and although they missed the white-ball final, it lays a solid foundation for their red-ball assault albeit without Murphy who is Sri Lanka-bound with Australia A.

Southern Districts were clinical in their eight-wicket win over PINT at DXC Arena. Batting first, the Greens could only manage 10-117 from 45.3 overs - chief among the run scorers was Dhanusha Gamage (50, 115 balls faced) and I also wrote last week that he needs to turn one of his half-centuries and near half-centuries into a big triple figure number. That was probably a bit harsh because of the other batsmen, only Coby Edmondstone (16) registered double figures. To add insult to injury, among the Croc top performing bowlers was former PINT captain and triple premiership player Tim Garner (2-7, 7.3 overs). In reply, the Crocs sailed to 2-118 from 25 overs and booked themselves into the one-day final.

Round 8 – Preview
Bizarrely, the two teams set to play in the white-ball one-day final at DXC Arena on the very next day, meet in their first 2022 DDCC Premier Grade red-ball outing at Kahlin Oval.

The Eagles have been on a form roller coaster in the white-ball game while Southern Districts are top-of-the table and firing on all 11 cylinders.

Darwin’s batting and bowling is solid but unless they get a start, either early runs or wickets, there is a distinct lack of discipline in their game as was evidenced last weekend with the bat at the tail-end of the innings with plenty of overs remaining. Furthermore, bowling spearhead Jake Reed (six wickets at 30.3) looks to be bowling good lines, but his length is too often on the short side for DDCC cricket.

Not so Southern Districts, they have bowling depth and variety to be envied including leg-spinner Tom O’Connell (10 wickets at 9.3). Similarly, the willow wielders go deep and are led by the in-form Dean Fry (191 at 63.7) and Sam Kerber (124 at 62.0) batting at three and four respectively – the challenge for Fry in particular is to turn a half-century into triple figures and the red-ball game is the perfect forum for that occurrence.

Palmerston will need to put aside its disappointment at not featuring in the one-day final and now concentrate on building a solid red-ball plan of action which in the past has not been a Maroon strong suite. There is a capable group of players at Palmy lead by Alex Bleakley and Hamish Martin that includes ‘keeper Corey McDean and opener Connor Carroll (263 runs at 65.8) together with bowling depth that may just benefit from the freedom red-ball cricket brings.

Palmy’s opponent PINT are trailing all others on the ladder and although opening batters Liam Blackford and especially Dhanusha Gamage (246 runs at 49.2) who looks more suited to longer forms of the game, but his challenge remains – turn half and near half-centuries into big triple figure numbers. Similarly, Green bowlers struggle to make any impression on opposing batsmen so personnel change and / or improved plans are essential.

Tracy Village is on a roll – three consecutive wins in the white-ball game but while it is stating the obvious, they must transfer that to red-ball cricket and all those attributes required. And that is without ace bowler Todd Murphy – but the Village think-tank was well aware of that eventuality and have been planning for his departure. Whether they can successfully fill the void will become obvious, but some offset may be to make more runs and bat the full quota of overs. Skipper Josh Kann has had a dirty season in Premier Grade cricket by his standards and will eventually rise to the top but aside from Antum Naqvi, who has been highly successful, Josh Hoffman and ‘keeper / batsman Tom Jackson in particular must spend more time at the crease and build an innings that the white-ball game doesn’t always allow.

Village has drawn Nightcliff at the Green and the Tigers are the enigma of DDCC Premier Grade cricket – either good or bad. They boast arguably the form all-rounder in the competition in Yuvraj Sharma (166 runs at 41.5 and 12 wickets at 12.4) and the most audacious batsman in Josh Brown (180 runs at 60.0) however a good start with the bat is necessary to give Brown and others a platform to build match winning scores.

Round 8 Fixture - Saturday 28 May and Saturday 04 June
Darwin v Southern Districts at Kahlin Oval (12.30pm)
Palmerston v PINT at Cazaly’s Oval (12.30pm)  
Tracy Village v Nightcliff at Tracy Village Oval (12.30pm) 
Bye: Waratah