West off to top start for season

CRICKET: North Whyalla Black defeated North Whyalla White in a T20 match on the weekend.

CRICKET: North Whyalla Black defeated North Whyalla White in a T20 match on the weekend.

West Whyalla 5/107 (Jayden Croft 64) Defeated Roopena 9/101 (Clay Crompton 53; Jayden Croft 2/9)

West Whyalla marked their return to first team competitions with a strong performance against a young Roopena team. Boasting their returning star Joe Jaritz, Roopena would have felt confident that they would have the power to defeat a West team who only fielded a side in the reserve grade last year.

West still boast one of the competition’s better players in Jayden Croft, who has the ability to take games away from teams quickly with his stylish stroke play and tricky swingers. This is exactly what happened with Croft dismissing most of Roopena's dangerous top order players, leaving it up to the in-experienced Clay Crompton to revitalise the innings, that being what he did, moving the team to a competitive 101 with a classy 53 of his own.

It was quickly realised that 101 was not going to be enough, with the young Roopena bowlers not being able to contain the stroke play of Croft who hit balls to all parts of the field to compile a magnificent 64, playing a major role in the West victory.

North Whyalla Black 3/218 (Chad Clothier 67, Matt Quist 47, David Atkinson 46; Mark Heath 2/49) Defeated North Whyalla White 7/97 (Ash Hall 23; Robert Pudney 3/13)

In what marked a fantastic day for the club, North Whyalla faced off against each other in the second match. In what was effectively the first IX vs the second IX it was a great chance for all the players who have put in a strong preseason to test themselves out in an competitive environment.

White captain, Matt Bennetts send the Blacks in and it was looking grimm early when Chad Clothier exploded out of the box, smashing the loose bowling to all parts of the ground, making an impressive 67, being dismissed in the 8th over. Atkinson joined Quist and they slowly pushed he score forward in a less explosive fashion until Quist was dismissed for 47. Atkinson was impressive for his 46. Robert Leith and Doctor Mudalige finished off the innings with a few lusty blows. 

The ball was thrown around a bit during the White innings with all bowlers having a go. The most impressive for the blacks was veteran Robert Pudney how took 3 wickets, two of them sharply caught in the slips. A few batsmen got starts, Heath, Hall and Jarrin Murphy all looking good for periods of time, however the target of 218 was always going to be too much.

North Whyalla Black 1/96 (Matt Quist 33*, Chad Clothier 30, Robert Leith 21*) defeated Roopena 5/95 (Alan Woolford 29*, Jamie Tudhope 20; Dave Miller 2/6)

In what was the match of the two pre-competition favorites, both sides were coming off different results from the previous day with North defeating the White team and Roos losing to an improved West Whyalla.

Young captain Matt Woolford won the toss and chose to bat, sending Slimmer Johns and Daniel Adamson to the crease. Dave Miller got the ball rolling, bowling Adamson in the first over, bringing young Nick Johns to the crease to have a hit with his old man. Both played some neat shots in their innings, however, it was Jamie Tudhope and Alan Woolford who pushed their score up towards 100.  North's bowling was disciplined, not giving too many boundary balls late in the innings, restricting the Roopena total to 95.

Quist and Chad Clothier looked to make light work of the total, both scoring feely early in the innings. Clothier was just starting to warm up when he was unfortunately runout for 30. New player for the magpies, Robert Leith comes with sound credentials from West Augusta and showed his class in the brief innings of 21* hitting some elegant balls through covers and punishing the short ball. 

West Whyalla 5/89 (Jayden Croft 31, Jason Munday 34*; Pat McArthur 2/11) defeated South Whyalla 8/84 (Chris Irvin 26, Pat McArthur 22; A Gunarathne 3/12)

South played their first game for the season, looking to improve from their impressive conclusion to the previous season, playing A Grade finals for the first time in a while. They would be looking to Pat McArthur and Blake Turner-Wiebriek to lead their team with strong performances.

Wes had other ideas, immediately dismissing their top order with calculated swing bowling and clean catches behind the wicket. Pat McArthur and Chris Irvin worked hard to resurrect the innings to a defendable total, however they were both dismissed in the 20's when south really needed a 40 or 50 to push the score past 120. Unfortunately for the Demons, they ended up on 84.

West made light work of the chase, with Jayden Croft setting the standard from the beginning with a crushing 31. Jason Munday made his presence felt with 4 sixes from one Simon Tresize over in his 34*.

Matt Stanton made his much anticipated return to Whyalla cricket for the Dragons, after having a very successful career with both North, but predominantly Central Whyalla, winning multiple premierships.

Players of the weekend were Jayden Croft from West Whyalla and Chad Clothier from North Whyalla.