Round 1 – Review
Despite the batting heroics of Tracy Village number three Antum Naqvi (109, 114 balls, 10x4, 5x6) who played an innings that contained a precise mixture of power and precision, his side went down to Nightcliff in a rain affected game at DXC Arena #2. Naqvi was the standout for Tracy with only two other batsmen registering double figures and they were bowled out for 202 in 48 overs. In an even bowling display, medium pacer Braden Taeuber, and off-spinners Nash Sant and Andrew Richards claimed two wickets each.
Requiring a revised total of 88 runs in 15 overs, the Tigers comfortably ran down the total with belligerent opener Josh Brown (37, 29 balls, 3x4, 3x6) leading the way.
On DXC Arena in the day-nighter, PINT appeared at ease in securing a five-wicket victory over Palmerston. Batting first, the Maroons lost an early wicket, but a succession of middle-order partnerships carried them to a moderate 6-176 after the required 40 overs. Alex Bleakley (45) and Hamish Martin (38) did the bulk of the scoring against a steady Green Cap bowling attack where Tharindu Balasooriva (2-28) and Harrison Massey (2-35) were the pick of the trundlers.
PINT batted steadily and reached the target in 36.1 overs – opener Danusha Gamage (65 n.o.) was best with the willow while Nathan Lester (32) provided some fireworks in the middle order. A wicket each to five bowlers was the Palmy response.
Sent in to bat by Southern Districts, Darwin managed 7-165 from their allotted 50 overs – Anthony Adlam (33), Ethan Anderson (32), and Tom Frawley (30) all got strong starts but neither could capitalise. Off-spinner Dean Fry (2-28) made most of his opportunities.
Districts got a good start with Daniel Mylius (33) and Zack Cluff (23) putting on 55 for the first wicket: but step-up medium pacer Kris Denby (5-24), quick Jake Reed (3-29) and skipper Connor Hawkins (2-28) and the rest folded (10-134 off 35.5) with barely a whimper giving the Eagles a 31-run win.
Rd 2 and 3 – Preview
Round 2 and Round 3 will be played on Saturday and Monday (ANZAC Day) and surely no team will suit up the same following Round 1 and the Easter break, so it is difficult to assess likely outcomes.
However, and although they have an additional week (Round 2 bye) to plan for the future, it was clear that Tracy Village batting is in desperate need of a talent injection.
Waratah had the Round 1 bye, but T20 League matches suggest their reliance on its array of spinners will be extended to quicker bowlers while Isaac Conway and Austin Umpherston may again be the batting anchors.
PINT will be keen to further add some spice to its bowling attack because while steady, it will become increasingly difficult for medium pacers to take bags of wickets as the surfaces harden.
Darwin was balanced in both batting and bowling and while medium pacer Kris Denby was a Round 1 match winner, he has stepped up during early games in previous seasons so his goal will be to extend his capability to using the red ball in extended matches. The Eagles will be eager to see how all-rounder Tom Menzies performs after his Team of the Tournament performance at the recent Under 19 Nationals in Mackay.
Although beaten, Palmerston showed some improvement in batting and bowling depth although the usual suspects Alex Bleakley (batting) and Hamish Martin (bowling) stood above the rest as mainstays.
Southern Districts was another disappointment in Round 1 but in their 2021 premiership winning campaign, early season form wasn’t a true measure of the end product, and this may be another case of waiting for the pieces to connect.
Nightcliff has unearthed some bowling depth which has variation and while batting was solid, a high order anchor would complement its array of fast movers.
Round 2 Fixture - Saturday 23 April
Darwin v PINT at Kalin Oval (11am)
Southern Districts v Waratah at Gerry Wood Oval (11am)
Nightcliff v Palmerston at Nightcliff Oval (11am)
Bye: Tracy Village
Round 3 Fixture – Monday 25 April (40 over games)
Nightcliff v Darwin at Nightcliff Oval (1pm)
Waratah v PINT at Gardens Oval (1pm)
Palmerston v Tracy Village at Cazalys Oval (1pm)
Bye: Southern Districts