Central on a high as finals loom

Central’s post-Christmas form continued with a victory in the final game of the regular season on the weekend, beating South by 84 runs at Jubilee Oval. The result meant the Roos have gone the 2023/24 BDCL A Grade season without a win.

The Round 15 encounter saw South elect to bowl after winning the toss, though Central’s opening batters Adam Rhodes and Clint Jones were going along at a steady pace for the first 10 overs before the latter was caught by Peter Christos off the bowling of Matt Grey, departing at 10 off 34.

Sheldon Hall came in as first drop and made an immediate impact for the Magpies, with his first two scores a six and a four. He combined with Rhodes for a 40-run partnership before Rhodes (24 off 56) was bowled by Grey (2/32), picking up his second wicket of the day.

Rocky Ninovic (eight off 29) and Luke Barnes (five off six) assisted Hall as he brought up his half-century before falling to South’s captain Ben Franklyn, bowled for 61 off 58.

The tailend of the Magpies’ batters, including stand-in captain Scott Mateer (19 off 14), James Wells (12 off three), and Ethan Kimball (12* off 17) helped bring the total to 8/186 after 40 overs.

Paul Nicholas (16 off 22) and Binu Sebastian (six off 15) strode out to the crease to start South’s reply, though both batters were back in the sheds inside seven overs, the wickets taken by Ninovic (1/18) and Kade Ticehurst (2/21), respectively.

At the halfway point, South was 4/75 after Grey (10 off 15) and Jawad Azam (12 off 28) made starts, but Riley Jennings made his mark on the game, producing two quick wickets on his way to cleaning up the tail, finishing with figures of 5/5 from four overs, with South bowled out for 102.

Post-game, Central’s Scott Mateer told the Truth posting a large total allowed for the side to try a couple of things in the second innings, though always remaining wary of South’s resilience.

“It was a good fightback. South started to get away a little bit, got a few quick runs and then Rocky [Ninovic] and [Riley] Jennings coming back on really slowed it and changed their fields and restricted and thought on the fly.

“It [the total] allowed us to try a few different things and bring [Luke] Barnes through and bring [Ethan] Kimball through for a few overs to test them out for next week. We might need options next week if we’re falling in a hole, so it was good to try a few different things in the field and work a few things out.

South captain Ben Franklyn told us although the side ended the season with a disappointing result, there were certainly chances to take the victory.

“We were pretty much full-strength, as in bowling and batting, so we said, ‘let’s see where we’re at, let’s really try and have a crack at this and bowl first’, which is not normal, I guess, given the circumstances that we haven’t won a game, we probably should bat first. I mean, at the same time, it’s a no risk, no reward sort of thing.

“We wanted to have a crack and I think we bowled pretty well. There were four or five dropped catches and a lot of inside edges that were just unlucky [to] not hit the stumps.

“It was really Central’s day. Sheldon Hall batted amazing as usual and they had a couple of other solid contributors who put on some crucial runs. They probably made 60 more than we’d anticipated.

With the regular season done and dusted, attention now turns to this weekend’s semi-final match-up between West and Central at Alma Oval. The action gets underway from 11am on Saturday, March 2.

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