By Peter Johnston

North commenced season 2023/24 hell bent on making up for their two surprise non appearances in BDCL Grand Finals in the past two seasons. A comfortable win over South in today’s 40-over contest at the Alma Oval will see North sitting on top of the A Grade premiership ladder with one loss for the first half of the season and in a great position to push for a Grand Final berth. On current form North must be rated premiership favourites.

North’s batting has been its strength this season and much credit must go to the impeccable form of Ben Jurd with the willow. Jurd peeled off 90 runs from 56 deliveries against Central last weekend and he has clocked up 244 runs at an average of 40 in the first half of the season. A frightening statistic for opposition sides is the fact that Tobias Hack has hardly scored a run and he is too good a player for that to continue after Christmas while Jordan Vella played his first game for the season last week and he also bolsters an already strong batting order and gives the Bulldogs greater variety with the ball.

South look to be outgunned in most departments today. The side’s batting lacks the firepower and the depth of their counterparts while their bowling also lacks consistency. Hopefully, Tristian Smith and Nick Christos return to the side today as they have offered good resistance in the first half of the season with both bat and ball. It was pleasing to see Matt Gray return to senior cricket last weekend for the Roos after an absence with a football injury. Gray will bolster the batting depth of the Roos and give them greater options with the ball.

I expect North to be having an early celebratory Christmas drink in this game while the Roos will be taking stock of where they can improve on their game when cricket resumes in three weeks’ time after the Christmas break.

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