By Peter Johnston
It was the loss that North had to have as a reality check. This is what the North supporters are saying about their first loss of the season against West last weekend. In actual fact little separates North and West ability wise and it was perhaps the absence of Hack and Bomfield from their side that swung the game in West’s favour.
With the return of these two players to the North side today I expect they’ll prove very hard to topple, although Central produced its best batting effort for the season on a Jubilee Oval wicket that gave bowlers little assistance. On the same wicket again today I expect runs to be the flavour of the day and it is the depth of the North batting order that sways my thinking.
Ben Jurd has become the North “superman” with both bat and ball this season and I think he, Tobias Hack and Codie Howard will find this wicket very much to their liking. Howard made a fine half century two weeks ago on the same deck against South and the trio loom large as obstacles for Central to overcome.
Enigmatic player Sheldon Hall looked at home on the Jubilee Oval wicket for Central last week scoring an impressive unbeaten 49 runs against South. Consistency is Sheldon’s greatest challenge and if he can repeat the dose here and get good support from Devoy, Turley, and Rhodes, the Magpies could set up a handy tally for North to chase. If Jarred Paull returns to the Central side this will further strengthen their chances of reaching a competitive score.
I predict a score somewhere in the vicinity of 200 or more for the North side in their 40 allotted overs given the good wicket and fast outfield. Central don’t appear to have the batters capable of overhauling a score like this unless Hall and Paull have a major day out.