Round 3 Review
Early season frontrunners PINT and Darwin failed to impress and were both defeated at the weekend. Round 3 winners were: Palmerston, Tracy Village and Waratah
PINT (10-159, 38 overs), travelled to Palmerston and were no match for the Maroons (5-160, 43.5) who finally found a degree of consistency in all departments of the game. The Greens batted after winning the toss and while most of the top order got starts, they couldn’t capitalise and fell to the guile of Hamish Martin (4-35, 10) who maintained his early season form and Lucas Nitschke (2-22). Palmy’s top order batting rose to the occasion (Connor Blaxall-Hill 50 n.o. batting at three) and they cruised to their first win of the season. Blade Baxter (3-14, 10) was the only PINT bowler to shine. A downside to the meritorious Palmerston victory, is the run-drought by batting mainstay Alex Bleakley – however, his class would suggest that it is only a matter of time before he again rises to the top.
But the story of the round was the dismal batting performance by Darwin against Tracy village at the home of NT Cricket, DXC Arena. I hinted last week that Darwin’s top order batting is fragile, and that Tracy is not far away from a win. Well, that observation became a reality, especially in relation to the often inept individual batting display by the Eagles who were bowled out for a paltry 81 (35 overs). Darwin batsmen don’t appear to have a strategy when at the crease and that attitude must change before a collective performance becomes a reality. Only Harry Chamberlain (32) and Anthony Adlam (26) applied any real resistance against a feisty Village attack led by fast men Josh Kann (6-9) and Harry Kitschke (2-16). Kann in particular was relentless with his line, length and occasionally pace, forcing batsmen to nick to ‘keeper Patrick Parsons five times.
Although Darwin had immediate success in the field when Ben Reichstein trapped Jackson Edmondstone in front in his very first over, the Villagers ran down the total with ease, taking only 17.1 overs and losing two wickets in the process – opener Antum Naqvi (50 n.o.) was the best.
Unlucky again, Nightcliff fell eight runs short in their chase of Waratah’s 8-235 in their 50 overs at the crease. Tahs got away well with another half-century opening stand between Port Adelaide teammates Isaac Conway 67 and Austin Umpherston (25) and with Dylan Hunter (67, batting at four) contributing significantly, the Red Caps posted an imposing total. Nightcliff bowlers all toiled hard on the run friendly wicket but never at any time did they dominate the batsmen.
Batting second, the Nightcliff top order all got going with opener Joel Curtis (76) posting back-to-back half centuries for his new club and Ryan McElduff (50) also impressive, but the total proved beyond them and they were eventually bowled out for 227 (49.4). Umpherston (3-21) displayed his all-round credentials with late wickets when the Tigers were surging toward victory.
Round 4 Preview
Three rounds down and it’s time to assess team performance with some objectivity because game plans, individual player advancement or decline together with time for recruits to settle and showcase their respective abilities is now able to be marked with some degree of surety.
Tracy Village are at home to Nightcliff and while the Tigers have run a close second in each of their games, it is noticeable that they have a solid top order batting array and while the bowling lacks menace, it is steady but a lack of agility and ground speed among fielders is costing valuable runs and each of their losses could be listed among victories because a few runs saved is clearly less runs to chase with the bat. The Villagers on the other hand have shown a definite improvement in their bowling, but batting depth has yet to be tested and the Tigers are formidable in that area so for Tracy to go back-to-back, other bowlers need to give more support to pace men Josh Kann and Harry Kitschke. A noticeable improvement in Tracy fielding strategies was evident – instead of “switching off”, during the all-important backing up for the throw to either end, much more awareness, and indeed action, was a feature. This may have simply been exuberance because of the match situation – only time will tell because basic fielding approaches has been a feature lacking in Tracy Village cricket for several seasons now!
Last round losers PINT and Darwin do battle at DXC Arena and each is fragile in the top-order batting area – Tim Garner is the rock for the Greens while opener Anthony Adlam has been a standout for the Eagles. Both teams have bowling line ups that are potentially capable, but neither has displayed consistent early penetration and gaining inroads that puts pressure on opposition batters - the team that reverses that trend is setting themselves up for a victory in a game that may just be a catalyst for more even performance for the remainder of the season.
Waratah meet Southern Districts in a day / nighter at Gardens Oval and while Tahs have scored strongly with the bat on the back of openers Isaac Conway and Austin Umpherston, there is solid support from the middle order which is part of the high-scoring recipe. Districts batting has also been impressive and they are also capable of producing match winning scores with Jackson Isakka, Lochie Hardy and Brodie Symons leading the way. However, Waratah bowl deeply while Districts rely on too few to make opponents wary, and they need to find additional wicket taking options – be it with improved performance by incumbents or elevating others from lower grades.
Round 4 Fixture
Tracy Village v Nightcliff at Tracy Village Oval (11am)
PINT v Darwin at DXC Arena (2pm: day / night)
Waratah v Southern Districts at Gardens Oval (2pm day / night)