Round 11 – Day 1 Preview
With four matches to complete the minor round season, this is where the countdown begins for teams to make the finals and while Waratah (1st, 29 points), Darwin (2nd, 25) and PINT (3rd, 22) appear reasonably secure, it is fourth place that’s very much up for grabs with Southern Districts (4th, 14), Tracy Village (5th, 14), Palmerston (6th, 12) and Nightcliff (7th, 10) all in the mix.
Arguably the most crucial game is at Nightcliff Oval where the Tigers play host to Tracy Village. Although a few weeks ago now, Nightcliff and Tracy’s last outings were contrasting with the Tigers overpowering PINT due to a combination of solid batting and improved bowling which included the fire from Tushaar Garg and the continued good form of Ryan McElduff. By comparison, the Villagers were wayward with the ball and only Josh Kann, who is in rare form, and Jackson Edmondstone managed to reach double figures with the bat.
The home side has batted strongly all season with Joel Curtis and McElduff in particular leading the way at the top of the order, however, a notable strength has been solid contributions from the middle order which has kept the scoreboard ticking over. The challenge for the Villagers is to get Kann back on track with his bowling but he will need support from others including Kane Hurley and Coby Edmondstone or another long day in the field chasing leather is likely.
Darwin and PINT meet at DXC Arena and they also had contrasting results in their last played fixtures. The Greens again struggled to make early inroads with the ball where only Blade Baxter looks menacing and their batting, although appearing solid, is unreliable and apart from Tim Garner, very much lacks consistency. On the other hand, the Eagles had little trouble in its win over Palmerston with seamers Luke Zanchetta and Troy Ryan skittling the top order batsmen and Harry Chamberlain and Anthony Adlam climbing into the Maroon bowlers with ease.
However, while the red ball form of Zanchetta and Ryan has been outstanding, there is a distinct lack of bowling depth and if the Green top order batting has one of their “on-days”, the likes of Ben Speake, Josh Neill and Lachlan Bangs can carve the opposition apart with great rapidity.
Southern Districts will greet Waratah at Gerry Wood Oval with a good deal of warranted confidence – firstly, they have a recent win on the board, secondly, their record against Tahs is sound, and finally, with Tahs having not played for four weeks because of a fixtured bye in Round 9, the Red Caps certainly lack recent match play.
But Waratah don’t have a shortage of experience and talent as its ladder position reflects – a batting line up including Isaac Conway, Austin Umpherston, Ashley Chandrasinghe, Yash Pednekar and Dylan Hunter is challenging for bowlers at most levels and while their bowling relies heavily on Udara Weerasinghe, he has support, usually in the spin form of Madura Weerasinghe and Hunter.
Districts’ bowling has the depth and variety to firstly contain and then dismiss batting lines where Jackson Isakka and a bevy of medium pacers including Nathan Hangan, Chris McEvoy and new chum Luke Gandy, together with highly competent “offies” Hammond and Dean Fry are a solid unit. So while Tahs have a rock-hard array of willow wielders, Districts have the trundlers to counter them.
Round 11 Fixture - Saturday 10 and 17 July
Nightcliff v Tracy Village at Nightcliff Oval (12:30pm)
Darwin v PINT at DXC Arena (3pm – day/night)
Southern Districts v Waratah at Gerry Wood Oval (12:30pm)