Saturday’s game saw rivals Roopena take on a slightly struggling North battling to get their best side on the park for the first time this year. Roopena also had some selection issues with 4 of their top 6 batsmen unavailable. Despite this, Roos won the toss and elected to bat.
With A grade combined pair Dunbar and Fiebig facing off against Miller and Lewis it was sure to be a watchable affair. Unfortunately for Roos, North’s bowlers had fortune on their side with one dismissal seeing the ball inside edged onto foot onto the stumps. This set the tone for the day with only Johns Sr. and Martin able to make it to double figures. Roopena all out for 58. The bowling performance would give North great confidence heading into finals. Ash Hall was the chief destroyer with arms and legs flailing about in organized chaos to take 4-5 and continue his hot bowling form. In reply, North lost a few wickets early to the fast improving Johns Jr, but is often the case at the top of the innings Quist was defiant as ever finishing 22*. With help from Mudalige piercing the field in a 'surgical' like manner and recent batting hero Gloede, they made light work of the run chase. A big win for North proving this finals series will be hotly contested with the top 3 teams believing they have what it takes to go all the way.
Sunday's game pitted Central vs South with Central looking to take advantage of Roos slip up the previous day in the fight for top spot. Tresize won the toss for South and elected to bat.
Captain Collison opted against using his big rig enforcer in younger brother Daniel and opened up with himself and Bartel. This paid dividends with Collison grabbing the always dangerous Hill in the 3rd over with the score on 11. Unfortunately for South this was the beginning of the carnage with Bartel bowling an inspired spell of swing bowling that had the batsman 'playing down the wrong line' on more than one occasion to propel himself to the top of the leading wicket takers list. The battle was on for the first 5fa between the two with younger brother Daniel perhaps slightly annoyed at not receiving the new ball grassing a chance he normally swallows to deny big brother Scott his first 5fa in years. Bartel finished with figures of 6 for 18. The only resistance came from combined hero MacArthur who at least batted resolutely before falling as the last victim to man of the match Collison. South’s only managed 10/32.
Chasing 32, Central sent out youngsters Marinkovic and Ohallaran to get some valuable time in the middle. South’s bowlers were up for the fight and restricted the runs, but 32 was never going to be enough and the only highlight being a spectacular catch to Hill off the bowling of Mullighan to dismiss Ohallaran who was looking solid. Marinkovic and Smith finished off the result to push Central 5 points clear with 3 games to play. A mention to the Upper North team, with 4 players from the Whyalla region (Nathan Van Eekeran, Chris Beaty along with Scott (Captain) and Daniel Collison), that ultimately came within 3 runs of winning the Country Championships for the second time in 3 years.
- JARRAD DUNBAR