The big winner in Round 5 was Darwin (4-284, 50 overs) who on the back of a masterly 136 (10x4, 4x6) from opener Dylan Brasher held their nerve against a fast-finishing Waratah (10-267).
Brasher and the very consistent Anthony Adlam (73) put on 169 for the first wicket but it was clear the Red Cap bowling group lacked options because five men bowled 48 of the 50 overs. However, Waratah openers Austin Umpherston (67) and Isaac Conway (47) returned serve with a stand of 83 before Eagle skipper Connor Hawkins removed Conway. A succession of wickets followed and at 8-208 Tahs looked gone but the last two wickets added 59 runs including a breezy 27 (11 balls faced) from number eleven Himesh Sandaradura.
Southern Districts dealt a reminder to Nightcliff that as reigning premier they are again well in the mix for a repeat. Sent in to bat, the Tigers had the better of the early duels and Districts slumped to 2-17 after Phillip Hull (3-40) knocked over both openers but a 110 run third wicket partnership between Sam Kerber (67) and Dean Fry (54) set Districts back on track towards its 9-273 at the close.
Then disaster for Nightcliff because on the same track they fell in a heap and were bowled out for 93 in 33.1 overs. Medium pacer Corey Kelly (4-15, 10 overs) returned to his best while leggie Tom O’Connell (3-21, 9.1 overs) and Ryan Harvey (2-29) mopped up the rest.
Tracy Village finally registered a win at the expense of PINT. The Villagers won the toss, elected to bat and on the back of a series of productive middle order partnerships which included half-centuries to Todd Murphy (63) and Antum Naqvi (57) clawed its way to 8-244 (50 overs).
In reply, PINT managed 204 (44.5 Overs) with newcomer Jack Wood batting at three powering his way to 59 (46bf, 3x4, 6x6). Murphy (3-19, 10 overs) was outstanding with the ball.
Round 6 – Preview
With two Rounds to play before the Carlton Mid Premier Grade Competition one-day final and top team Darwin (15 points) having the Round 6 bye, Southern Districts (12 points), Palmerston (12 points) and to a lesser extent Nightcliff (10 points) who are fixtured with the Round 7 bye are all in the mix to meet in the decider.
Coming off the bye, Palmerston are at home to a red-hot Southern Districts and a win by either team will elevate it to the top-of-the-table so to say the match is not crucial is underplaying an important element of competitive sport.
Palmy remains a bit of an unknown but a real strength has been a sharing of the load – in recent seasons if Alex Bleakley and Hamish Martin don’t dominate the batting and bowling respectively, then the Maroons inevitably didn’t win. However, they have recruited judiciously and depth in all areas is obvious but, they are coming up against the competition measure for workload sharing in Southern Districts where leg-spinner Tom O’Connell has been outstanding and Dean Fry batting at three is in career best form. For Palmerston to match the rural men, Bleakley, especially needs top order batting support.
Both Tracy Village who won their first game and Waratah who were unlucky losers last weekend meet at the Village Green and while neither has early season form to be likely one-day final challengers each has a point to prove.
Tracy has little batting depth and in the absence of contributions from skipper Josh Kann (53 runs at 13.3) they rely heavily on Antum Naqvi (228 runs at 57.0) to provide the anchor. Similarly, only Todd Murphy (eight wickets at 8.9) poses serious threat to opposition batsmen.
On the other hand, while Waratah batting displayed a more disciplined showing in Round 5, a distinct lack of bowling depth emerged when only five bowlers were used against Darwin who amassed 4-284 after 50 overs – apologies to Roby Lane (two overs for 19 runs).
A disappointing PINT meet an equally Round 5 sub-standard performer in Nightcliff at DXC Arena in a day/nighter.
A big win by the Tigers could elevate them into one-day final serious contender status but a quick remedy is required because their last outing with the bat achieved only 93 runs in total while they conceded 9-273 with the ball. PINT has struggled in both areas throughout the season, but persistence will eventually pay dividends. So, the equation is: Nightcliff to return to early season form or the Greens, who simply must bat for their full quota of overs, will catch them with its steady-as-you-go approach.
Round 6 Fixture - Saturday 14 May
Tracy Village v Waratah at Tracy Village Oval (11am)
Palmerston v Southern Districts at Cazaly’s Oval (11am)
PINT v Nightcliff at DXC Arena #1 (1.30pm – day/nighter)