Round 8 – Day 2 Review

In arguably the best game of cricket to be played in the DDCC for many seasons, Waratah overcame the Palmerston total (9-280) during the last over of the day at Gardens Oval.

In a strange twist, Tahs began the chase without their usual match winning opening batting pair of Isaac Conway and Austin Umpherston when Ashley Chandrasinghe strode to the wicket with Conway and Umpherston was relegated to bat at three. Well, the change seemed to work when the pair, seemingly in an untroubled manner, moved to 89 for the first wicket before Conway was snared for 46 – Chandrasinghe was later dismissed for an elegant 85 (6x4, 1x6). Batting at three, Umpherston (20) became Hamish Martin’s (3-82) first victim in a marathon 36 over bowling stint. Yash Pednekar chipped in with a patient 70 (130 balls) but it was Udara Weerasinghe (22 n.o.) who was the hero of the day when he eased the ball to the boundary in the final over of the match to give his side a five-wicket victory at 5-284.

By contrast, and in a peculiar decision, Darwin overcame the Southern District modest total (10-158) after commencing the day at 4-71, stumps were drawn two hours later when the Eagles reached 8-162 – Jacob Dickman (52), Brodie Symons (3-55).

Not surprisingly, my Hmmmm? for the week is why would any team be satisfied to play for only 2-hours? – that’s almost not long enough for anyone to get a reasonable dose of the essential vitamin D from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation (of course, using a cream to eliminate the harmful UV, the main cause of skin cancer). But without consulting either central character – the respective captain’s – I suppose it comes down to the disincentive associated with playing a second innings because no bonus points are on offer.

So why aren’t bonus points a feature when it would be an incentive to keep playing instead of the almost farcical situation that arose at Gerry Wood Oval? Bonus points have in the past been a valuable resource for teams striving to gain an advantage in the table position, and while not fully relevant, an essential ingredient in winning a drawn Sheffield Shield final are bonus points gained in the first 100 overs of each first innings. More importantly however, is that the reintroduction of bonus points will go a long way to stop the silly premature end of play that occurred last weekend, and the allowable lack of gametime, may also act as a deterrent to attracting high-class recruits during their southern winter which in turn may have the effect of watering down the competition.

A series of productive top order batting partnerships and 64 from opener Ben Speake, drew PINT towards its target (198) at Tracy Village. Once Josh Neill fell with the score at 4-199, the flood gates opened and a major beneficiary was Lachlan Bangs who smashed his way to triple figures in almost the blink of an eye (110 off 80 balls; 8x4, 6x6) – some may argue that it was a hundred without pressure because the bowlers knew the cause was lost and couldn’t benefit with bonus points while continuing to play. Well, tell that to Bangs and any others who spent valuable time at the batting crease! Tracy toiled assiduously at the bowling crease and in the field but its lack of depth, especially when Josh Kann wasn’t able to become a commanding presence, was on display – skipper Hugo Burdon (3-78, 15 overs) bowled late and although expensive, did make a contribution. Interestingly, PINT didn’t take their collective foot off the pedal once the target score was reached, but used the time in a mature manner.

Rd 9 Day 1 Preview

PINT has the chance of at least drawing level with Waratah at the top of the table if it takes down Nightcliff at DXC Arena.

The Greens will be buoyed after a solid victory last round but an essential is for them to maintain an emerging strong top order batting display against the Tigers who have a steady but less than penetrating bowling array.

The Tigers are coming off the bye and have had time to consider options in the red ball arena although playing depth can often prevent any major change to lineups. What emerged during the white ball fixtures is that Nightcliff has the potential to score heavily where Joel Curtis and Ryan McElduff have been in good form, and despite being among the top echelon in fielding, they struggle to bowl out opposition. The Tigers rely heavily on off-spinners Ryan McElduff and Nash Sant and if their quicks can make early inroads, it would allow the slower bowlers to attack rather than restrict the opposition batsmen.

Despite its lofty ladder position, PINT still does not impress as a well-structured unit – like Nightcliff, the Green early bowlers, with Blade Baxter being an exception, fail to penetrate and without a top-class spinner, opposition batsmen can feast. 

Palmerston did what no others have been able to do on a regular basis and that is to give Waratah a fright in a game of cricket. Not that close losses are much consolation to the Maroons who have found their mojo in the batting but rely too heavily on Hamish Martin to firstly contain and then try to take wickets after early bowling onslaughts fail to produce the goods. Darwin relies heavily on the batting talents of Anthony Adlam at the top of the order and a major disappointment to the team and supporters is the lack of consistent assistance he gets from some other well credentialled players. The lack of Palmerston bowling depth may just suit those who have failed to live up to their potential and without batting to over and field placement restrictions, unless stupid closures again occurs, it may just be the perfect opportunity for them to open their collective bag of talents. Darwin currently sites third on the ladder at (4-3) but with Palmy and Districts, both at 3-4, nipping at their heals, there is no room for complacency.

Both Southern Districts and Tracy Village will be keen to get back into the winner’s column on the ladder table when they clash at the Village Green. Districts in particular need to get a wriggle-on or they may lose touch with other potential finalists.

Tracy boasts a strong batting line up where opener Jackson Edmondstone is beginning to emerge as a force, but the team can be brittle down the order, and it is not unusual for them to teeter after a strong early showing with skipper Hugo Burdon in particular having a productive season with the willow.

Districts’ batting revolves around Jackson Isakka and the all-round talents of skipper Matt Hammond and if they are to become a serious contender, others must also bat with more resolve and unity, noting the importance of partnerships in building match winning totals. Runs aplenty may just be on the agenda in this match, and the team that best settles into early batting rhythm will take a clear advantage in the crucial encounter.

Round 9 Fixture - Saturday 12 and Saturday 19 June

PINT v Nightcliff at DXC Arena (12:30pm)

Palmerston v Darwin at Cazalys Oval (12:30pm)

Tracy Village v Southern Districts at Tracy Village Oval

Bye: Waratah