Battle begins with a variable bounce
A LIVELY wicket would usually be spice enough for underdone cricketers but the rivalry between Mulgrave and Norths will take their Round 1 battle to the next level.
The first-grade season will officially begin for the six teams today in one-day action, including the first day-nighter between the 2016-17 two-day grand finalists.
Mulgrave got the chocolates and just as it was on that fateful day for Norths, Will Robertson said batting would be difficult on the new wicket with variable bounce.
“It has still got a bit of work to go. it needs a little bit more time to settle in, but by the middle of the season it should be pretty good,” he said.
“It’s probably going to be really tough for the batsmen. During the training sessions it has been tough, not knowing whether the ball will bounce up or keep low.”
But the real spice has come with Conor Punshon’s switch to Norths for a shot at more game time.
Robertson said Mulgrave would not necessarily be buying into any choice words on the pitch – they won’t need to.
“I don’t think they’re going to say too much. Conor will probably get himself out to be honest,” he said.
But Norths skipper Chris Stanger said Punshon was going to be a handy addition for 2017-18, expecting him to shore up the middle order.
“He’s definitely a very talented cricketer and easily slots into our middle order and we’ve been bowling him a few overs,” he said.
Even Stanger can see the funny side of Norths having another all-rounder, but it doesn’t stop there.
Former Barron and Rovers player Andrew Phelps has joined after two seasons in Brisbane, where he played third grade for Souths last year, while former Norths captain Daniel Freebody has also returned to the Far North.
Stanger expected fielding, especially catching high balls, to be the toughest part of playing under lights.
ROUND ONE: Mulgrave player Wade Matthews (left) and Norths' captain Chris Stanger get ready for the cricket season, which starts this weekend with T20 matches, including day-nighters.