Bat­tle be­gins with a vari­able bounce

The Weekend Post - - Sport - JA­COB GRAMS CRICKET

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.

Pic­ture: ANNA ROGERS

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.

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