THE GREAT ESCAPE – BULLDOGS CLINCH A THRILLING VICTORY OVER THE PIES
North 9/159 (B. Jurd 52, C. Howard 27, D.O’Malley 3/18) def Central 148 (S.Hall 59, B. Jurd 3/13, C. Howard 3/9) by 11 runs.
North’s cricket team took to the pitch last Saturday afternoon in their ongoing quest for BDCL glory, achieving what can only be described as one of the all-time great victories for the Blue and White. Facing a challenging scenario with a significantly altered lineup compared to previous weeks, the Bulldogs entered the game with several key players missing.
Undeterred by these circumstances, Captain-Coach Codie Howard led his team in an exceptional display of skill with both bat and ball. The match began with North batting first on what appeared to be a slow and low Alma Oval pitch. The crowd was initially stunned as the renowned duo B.L. Martin and R.E. Bomford opened the batting for North. Martin, seizing the opportunity to return to his role as an opening batsman, quickly made his mark on the game with a series of powerful strikes.
However, Martin’s stint was short-lived as he was caught in the heavily manned cover region for a commendable 14 runs. Bomford followed soon after, caught for a modest 7 runs. The stability of the innings was then restored by Ben Jurd and Michael Maalste, who formed a crucial partnership. Unfortunately, Maalste was dismissed for a valuable 16 runs.
The pivotal moment of the North innings came when Captain Howard joined Jurd. The pair took on Central’s emerging attack, driving the game forward. Howard’s impressive innings ended at 27 runs, bowled by Nick Devoy. Jacob McMahon, on his club debut, paired with Jurd to maintain the momentum. However, Central’s bowlers regained control, limiting North’s scoring opportunities. McMahon was dismissed for a solid 10 runs, bringing young Luke Hall to the crease.
A memorable moment for the fans came when Jurd scored his maiden half-century for the club, a feat expected to be the first of many this season. His successful innings, however, concluded shortly after, with Jurd dismissed for a game-changing 52 runs. The lower order of the Bulldogs, including L. Bell, T. Russell (on his A Grade debut), and J. Cain, contributed significantly, bringing the final score to a defendable 159 runs.
Central, needing 160 runs for victory, initially seemed set for a long chase. However, they aggressively tackled North’s bowling, showcasing an extraordinary display of run-scoring prowess. T. Nicolle achieved an early breakthrough by dismissing A. Rhodes, but this only paved the way for Sheldon Hall, a familiar face now representing Central in the 2023/24 season. Hall’s dominant performance against his former team was a highlight, as he effortlessly tackled each North bowler.
A significant turn of events occurred when C. Howard dismissed N. Devoy, leading to a partnership between Hall and Central veteran J. Paull. At 2-112 just before the drinks break, Central appeared to be cruising to victory. However, Hall was eventually dismissed for an impressive 59 runs by R. E. Bomford. Following the drinks break, North transformed their approach, swiftly dismantling Central’s middle and lower order. M. Maalste claimed two crucial wickets, while B. Jurd’s exceptional over included three wickets, featuring the significant dismissal of J. Paull.
The mounting pressure proved too much for Central’s lower order. Captain Howard delivered the final blow, taking two wickets in consecutive deliveries to secure an incredible comeback victory for the Bulldogs. This triumph against the odds firmly positions North as a serious contender this year, maintaining their undefeated status at the top of the A Grade ladder.
Don’t miss next week’s match, as the Bulldogs face South at the Jubilee Oval in what promises to be another thrilling encounter.
RAMPAGING WARRIORS TOO GOOD FOR BRAVE DOGS
Warriors 5/259 (Dalby 89, Pavlich 80, West 45, Pearce 30, Apps 2/15) defeated North 106 (Sheppard 28 not out, Rogers 28, Charnock 2/1, Underwood 2/10)
Last Sunday, after a significant victory against South, North was looking to carry that momentum into a crucial match against the undefeated Warriors at Zinc Oval. Warriors captain Ashley Bates won the toss, choosing to bat first. The experienced duo of Rhys Pavlich and Clint Pearce opened for the Warriors.
North’s opening bowlers, Kieran McEvoy and the returning Chris Mitchell, worked hard in the early overs. Despite this, Pavlich, with Pearce’s support, quickly diminished the new ball’s effectiveness, hitting boundaries regularly. However, North’s bowlers, including Dylan Millsteed, Dunstal Hibberd, and Joel Sheppard, struggled to secure an early wicket. The Warriors reached 0/101 off 15 overs at the drinks break, with North still optimistic about making a breakthrough.
Post-break, North’s debutant Matthew Apps made an impact, dismissing Pearce (30) with a wide one caught by Harry Roach at point. Apps, celebrating his first senior wicket in 16 years, didn’t wait long for his second. In the same over, he claimed Pavlich (80 off 52 balls), caught by Sheppard. Despite North’s resurgence, new batsmen Shane Dalby and Chris West aggressively targeted North’s bowlers, pushing the score near 250.
A crucial run-out occurred when Dalby hit straight to bowler Harry Butcher, catching West (45 off 28 balls) off guard and short of the crease. Dalby, eyeing a century, was then spectacularly caught by Dunstal Hibberd off Mitchell for an explosive 89 off 45 balls. Butcher later stumped Underwood for 2, off McEvoy’s bowling. The Warriors concluded their innings at 5/259 off 30 overs, setting North a formidable target of 260.
Scott Rogers and Dunstal Hibberd opened for North, balancing boundary hitting with single taking. Hibberd fell to Pearce for 12, and Harry Butcher joined Rogers, only to be caught by Ashley Bates off Zane Kemp for 7. Matthew Apps, alongside Rogers, briefly rallied but was dismissed by Shane Dalby for 10, leaving North at 3/61.
Millsteed then joined Rogers, who was bowled by Bates for a solid 28. Sheppard, promoted to sixth, partnered with Millsteed, but the latter soon fell for 2, caught behind off Eric Underwood. McEvoy followed, caught by Bates off Underwood without scoring.
Harry Roach, on his return, supported Sheppard, who was finding his rhythm. However, Roach was bowled by Brayden Dalby for 2. Nathan Keen, also returning, was out for a duck, caught by Craig Lawrence off Calan Lawrence’s bowling. Chris Mitchell, in his comeback, was caught by Chris West off Jordan Charnock without scoring. Charnock then trapped Nathan Webb lbw for 0, ending North’s innings at 106, with Sheppard not out on 28.
It was a challenging day for the B Grade team, but they fought valiantly. Special thanks to Chris Mitchell, Nathan Keen, Harry Roach, and Matthew Apps for stepping up when the club needed them. The team is determined to bounce back in next week’s must-win game against defending premiers West at Norm Fox Oval.
NORTH WOMEN STAY STRONG WITH 37 RUN WIN OVER CENTRAL
North 3/139 (S.Balman 58*, J.Smith 43, L.Ticehurst 3/27) Defeated Central 9/102 (A.Forbes 26, E.Buttriss 17, J.Smith 3/20, S.Milne 2/9)
In the Friday night fixture at Jubilee, Captain Milne won the toss and chose to bat first, with both teams fielding only 10 players each, setting the stage for an evenly matched game.
Balman and Morris opened the batting for their team. Despite a promising start with 8 runs from the first over, Morris was quickly bowled by Ticehurst, leaving the team at 1/8. Alchin then stepped up to the crease, hitting a few impressive shots including a boundary, but was soon dismissed LBW by Ticehurst.
Smith was next in line, tasked with steadying the innings. It didn’t take long for Smith to score a boundary, and the team reached the drinks break with around 40 runs and only two wickets down.
Balman and Smith established a solid partnership, adeptly rotating the strike and capitalizing on poor deliveries. However, Ticehurst broke through in the 18th over, claiming Smith and ending their 94-run partnership. Milne then joined Balman in the middle, concluding the innings with a total of 139 runs, featuring Balman’s unbeaten 58 and Milne’s 3*.
Boxsell led the bowling attack, conceding just one run in the opening over. Smith followed, striking with her second delivery to dismiss Imisides. Central’s strategy revolved around taking singles and exploiting extras. Boxsell claimed another wicket in her second over, with Milne taking a sharp catch.
As Central continued to accumulate runs, Forbes stepped up, contributing significantly until being bowled by Balman. The scores were close around the drinks break when fill-in player Cindy Knott was handed the ball. Although she dropped a catch from Hodgins, she quickly redeemed herself by running out the dangerous Forbes.
The combination of Block and Knott proved pivotal, with Knott taking another wicket and Block making a surprising catch off Smith’s bowling, followed by enthusiastic celebrations. Smith secured her third wicket soon after, putting pressure on Central as Buttriss and Kelly added crucial runs.
In the final stages, the skipper took charge, claiming two wickets in the last over to wrap up the tail. Special thanks are extended to Grace Block and Cindy Knott for their contributions.
Looking ahead, Round 5 will see the team facing South on Sunday at Norm Fox Oval.