Round 9 Day 2 – Review
PINT was both a winner and loser in Round 9. Although not winning the game against Darwin in the day/nighter at DXC Arena, they displayed rare grit in chasing down the huge Eagle total (7-354) and that was despite falling to 4-22 at the start.

Chief among the batting resurrection were Coby Edmonstone (119) and Nick Winter (99) who shared a 177-run fifth wicket partnership which gave the Greens a remote winning chance regardless of the early setback orchestrated by Darwin quick Jake Reed who took the first three wickets to fall. Their score (303) was reflective of that partnership together with more middle order contribution and importantly, a rise from early near capitulation.

Reed (3-73) did the initial damage, but it was Dylan Brasher (3-23) who got rid of Edmondstone whereas skipper Connor Hawkins (3-80) rolled on for 23 overs.

But the match of the round was at Cazaly’s Oval where Palmerston hosted Nightcliff in a battle for outright second place on the ladder. The Tigers posted a meagre 196 from 71 overs on day one and at stumps had Palmy 1-21 in reply.

Opener Awad Naqvi has had a relatively lean season with the bat but was resolute in his innings at the top of the order, compiling 55 (119bf) and seemed untroubled until he was late responding to a call and was run out at the strikers end by a wonderfully aimed direct hit by opposition captain Josh Hartill from mid-off. That left the Maroons without a batting anchor and while others got starts many self-destructed and they were eventually dismissed for 156 from 55.4 overs.

Characteristically, the Tigers rotated through its array of bowlers and while six tasted success, fast bowler Caelan Maladay (3-29) and ‘offie’ Param Uppal (2-37) were the only multiples, but importantly, that pair combined at the end to take the last four wickets to fall.

And at Gardens Oval, Waratah (298) did the deed on top-of-the-table Southern Districts (200). Districts were immediately on the back foot in the run chase when Sam Geyer, Udara Weerasinghe, Roby Lane and Austin Umpherston combined with a wicket each to close out the much-vaunted Districts top order. Here I go again: I like crowing about my predictions – because after writing in my preview of the match last week “………….. but success may depend on Roby Lane (2-39), Sam Geyer (3-29) and medium-pacer Austin Umpherston (2-42) to contribute to the wicket taking against the formidable group of Districts batsmen ……………..” and that is what eventuated.

Districts did recover from the early setback (4-64) with some solid middle-order contributions, including 44 from captain Matt Hammond batting at ten (Hmmm), but it was too little too late.

Round 10 Day 1 – Preview
With Districts fixtured for the bye, the charge is on to replace them at the top of the table and two serious contenders, Darwin and Nightcliff meet at Kahlin Oval - certainly if the Tigers prevail, they will go top.

 Nightcliff’s batting relies on Connor Carroll at the very top of the order but there is solid support throughout their line-up which includes Yuvraj Sharma, Michael Kudra, Param Uppal and Josh Hartill whereas Darwin relies heavily on Jake Reed to make initial inroads with the ball. If the Tiger willow wielders can overcome the initial onslaught, plenty of runs are likely on the batter friendly Kahlin wicket so it is up to the Eagle backup bowlers to maintain pressure.

Similarly, Darwin’s batting falls away after the top order where Anthony Adlam, Dylan Brasher and Matt Calder are in top form. However, Nightcliff use their deep bowling array to good advantage and rotate until the right combinations for the day are found. They also have a couple of pretty useful quicks in Braden Taeuber and Caelan Maladay to soften up opposition early batsmen.

Tracy Village (6th) simply need to keep winning to give themselves a chance of playing finals and with Palmerston (4th) losing ground with a loss last round, it is the perfect opportunity for the villagers to keep in touch when the two meet at the Village Green.

Palmerston failed miserably in a moderate run chase last round – too many batsmen displayed a lack of discipline and gave up their wickets to careless shots. Not so Awad Naqvi, but a team that includes Connor Carroll, Connor Blaxall-Hill, Corey McDean and Alex Bleakley in the top six have the power to score winning totals in most circumstances.

Village has Antum Naqvi, Josh Hoffman, Tom Jackson and Josh Kann all capable of winning games with the bat but rely heavily on off-spinner Reiley Mark (15 wickets at 16.8) to hold and dismiss opposition batsmen – so clearly, a more rounded bowling formula must be found.
A seemingly rejuvenated PINT comes up against an equally rampant Waratah at DXC Arena. Although the Greens failed to gain the match points last round, a more controlled batting performance resulted in the team scoring in excess of 300 runs chasing a huge total. Much of the strong batting execution resulted in a productive fifth wicket partnership between Coby Edmondstone and Nick Winter but an equally pleasing aspect was the recovery from a disastrous start with the bat. 

The challenge for PINT is to maintain the batting mindset and also to find a similar outlook from their bowlers which must curb the often-erratic run-making of the Red Caps who rely on Ashley Chandrasinghe, Isaac Conway, Jagadeswara Koduru and out-of-form (or just plain unlucky) Austin Umpherston. Most satisfying for Tahs in their win over top-of-the-table Southern Districts last round would have been the bowling form of its medium-pace support, but that aspect must be continually replicated if they have serious premiership aspirations.

Round 10 Fixture - Saturday 25 June and Saturday 02 July
Darwin v Nightcliff at Kahlin Oval (12.30pm)
PINT V Waratah at DXC Arena (12.30pm)  
Tracy Village v Palmerston at Tracy Village Oval (12.30pm) 
Bye: Southern Districts