Lights the least of Norths’ wor­ries

CRICKET

Kalgoorlie Miner - - SPORT - Ja­son Men­nell

A weak­ened North Kalgoorlie side are hop­ing they can main­tain their hold at the top of the lad­der when they play their first game un­der lights to­day.

Norths will be squar­ing up against bot­tom-of-the-lad­der Lake View in the Eastern Gold­fields Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion’s A-grade com­pe­ti­tion with only half of the team made up of first-se­lec­tion play­ers.

Star bats­man Be­van Ben­nell and all-rounder Jay Col­lard are away after play­ing in the WA Coun­try team for the na­tional cham­pi­onships, and a team­mate’s wed­ding has fur­ther af­fected player avail­abil­ity. Norths’ cap­tain-coach Trent Mais said it was prob­a­bly the weak­est side the team had fielded this sea­son, but he was op­ti­mistic they would still be com­pet­i­tive.

“We are strug­gling for num­bers,” he said.

“We will just have to strap a team to­gether, but I still think we’ll be pretty com­pet­i­tive.”

Lake View have won only a sin­gle game this sea­son, but they will have some mo­men­tum from their last game when they lost by just one wicket to Han­nans in a nail­bit­ing clash be­fore the fes­tive break.

Lake View skip­per Josh Harper said his side would be short of a few play­ers as well, but he was hop­ing to give new re­cruit Prashan­thon Na­garaja his first run for the club after he moved from Great Boul­der. Na­garaja had four out­ings for the Two Blues in the A-grade this sea­son, record­ing best fig­ures of 5-36 against Norths at the end of Novem­ber.

Harper said win­ning the toss would be a dis­tinct ad­van­tage.

“It is a bit dif­fer­ent un­der the lights,” he said.

“The team that bats un­der lights, they’ve got to do it much harder.

“You will al­ways want to get off to a good start and I think the white ball does a bit more in the air at night-time.”

Mais said he was look­ing for­ward to play­ing at the Ray Fin­layson Sport­ing Com­plex, but had not given the day-night for­mat a lot of thought.

In the other fix­ture, sec­ond­placed Han­nans will face third­placed Great Boul­der at Wal­lace Park. Han­nans are just one win adrift of Norths and the Two Blues trail the lad­der-lead­ers by 18 points.

Quentin Gra­ham hits to the off side.

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