South fight back to break two-season drought

By Jason Irvine

It’s taken 1029 days – that’s how long it has been since South celebrated a win in the Barrier District Cricket League (BDCL) A-Grade competition.

But it all came good on Saturday afternoon, as the team fought back hard for a 30-run victory against Central at Alma Oval. The result also denied Central its first win of the season.

“It’s a pretty amazing feeling. It’s been a while before some of us have had success,” South A-Grade vice-captain Ben Franklyn told the Barrier Truth.

“It’s also a new feeling for some of the boys, part of the rebuild, and we’ve got a heap of young kids, 14, 15-year-olds that are coming through. It’s more important they get that feel of success and just to notice that we’re starting to play as a unit now is really pleasing.

“We sat down as a unit and realised we’re building off the back of last year where A-Grade were missing probably half their team every game. This year we’ve been able to consolidate and we’ve been able to get 20-30 to training on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We’re moving that next step forward in our development. It was a pretty good game of cricket on the weekend, was a good day for it.”

Heading into bat first, South were all out for 99 off 29.3 overs. Contributions from Harrison Russell (38 off 47 with five boundaries) and tailenders Franklyn (10 not out off 41) and Asif Mahmood (15 off 20) distracted from a disastrous start, with two wickets falling in the opening overall from Central bowler David O’Mally.

A 26-run ninth-wicket partnership between Franklyn and Mahmood allowed South to post a score of 99 all out as O’Mally (3/18) and Rory Skinner (3/17) led the way for Central with the ball.

Adam Rhodes and Riley Elvery made sure Central had the best possible chance after the first innings, but Rhodes fell for six off four in the second over.

A 28-run stand between Elvery (18 off 24) and first drop Clinton Jones (nine off 29) helped Central cruise towards the target.

However, at 2/53 inside 12 overs and needing 47 runs for victory, Central lost 8/16 as Franklyn (5/18) and Nick Christos (4/21) ripped through the Central batting order. During the innings, Franklyn and Christos were looking for hattricks, but couldn’t find the third wicket in the sequence.

“I was actually going sit out for another lad who had been training the house down and at the last minute, the captain said ‘mate, I’ve just got a feeling I need you in the side’,” Franklyn said.

“I didn’t actually think I was going to be needed to bowl because we actually have a team full of bowlers and then Matty [Gray] gave me the ball. We’ve been working on partnerships and trying to stop teams from getting off to big starts because we’ve had three big starts put on us this year so that’s a focus of our unit.

“I’d like to mention the skipper Matty Gray, he’s been leading from the front. He’s even been mentoring myself and I’ve probably played 15, 20 years more cricket than him but he identifies areas of improvement in everybody’s game.

“I’m 39 and he’s 26 and he’s assisting me with my game so hats off to him, and with the development of the young blokes, it’s just pleasing to get an all-round performance together. Let’s face it, it’s more of a team game. We’ve got to get those wins on the board and try to scrape into the finals somehow and see if we can cause some damage or an upset. Cricket’s a funny game.”

South take on West at Alma Oval on Saturday from 11:30am.

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