By Trevor Jackson
NORTH Sportsman’s set South Gambier a monumental task if the Demons are to claim first-innings points in Round 9 of the Hoggies Wines Barber Shield cricket season.
The Tigers hosted the Demons on day one of play at Marist Park and a classy century to Michael Johnston saw the home side finish the day at 8/294 off the full 80 overs.
Even a five-wicket haul to Robert Drenthen could not arrest the run rate.
Johnston opened the batting after South won the toss and sent the home side into bat.
He was joined in the middle by Brad Robinson and the pair put on 72 runs for the first wicket.
Robinson fell to Drenthen for 42 runs off a steady 85 deliveries and the run-fest continued from there.
Brad Stafford joined Johnston and the partnership flourished, producing 138 runs before the former departed for a well-crafted half-century.
His 52 runs included seven boundaries and a maximum off 97 deliveries before he became a victim of Luke Zadow.
Elliott Fisher could only offer 12 runs to the cause, then Johnston fell to Drenthen for 134 runs, which included 13 boundaries.
Nick McInerney came in and provided plenty of entertainment, with 31 runs off just 20 deliveries as the overs wound down.
He was unbeaten at stumps and North is in the box seat to claim first-innings points.
Drenthen’s five wickets came off 22 overs and cost 71 runs.
West Gambier will chase an outright victory in its match against Mil Lel, after dominating with the ball, then declaring early.
Just one Mil Lel batsman reached double figures in the first innings, with five ducks recorded on the scoresheet.
Nicholas Walters managed 15 runs, but it took 54 deliveries while the reminder of the batting lineup fell apart.
In the 33rd over it was all over, with 50 runs next to Mil Lel’s name.
Wickets were shared around, with Niall Easterbrook the best.
He finished with figures of 4/7 off 6.1 overs.
In response West declared in the 18th over, with a total of 3/62 and first-innings points in hand.
Connor Prior (31) and Jake Blackwell (24) ensured the target was reached comfortably, before the former was caught off the bowling of Jack Miller to trigger the declaration.
Jack Geddes and Easterbrook were both bowled by Carey Megaw for three and two runs respectively.
Mil Lel then headed back to the batting crease and made a better fist of its second innings.
At stumps the scorecard read 2/46, with both Tim McInerney and Craig Lock back in the sheds.
Walters and Miller were left unbeaten and will need to provide a solid partnership to avoid the outright defeat on day two on play.
While Penola celebrated Sunday night after its first South Aussie Big Bash T20 crown, Saturday was not so kind, with its Barber Shield match against East Gambier not going to script.
Penola hosted the Bulldogs up at McCorquindale Park, won the toss, went into bat and it all went pear shaped from there.
Impressive bowling from East quick Alex Hentschke thwarted any efforts for the home side to push the run rate along.
Only Thomas Clayfield and Michael Waters reached double figures, as Hentschke ripped through the batting lineup to the tune of 5/9 off 15 overs.
In the 35th over Penola was all out with just 76 runs on the board.
It provided plenty of time for East to chase first-innings points, which it achieved but not in convincing fashion.
In fact, only three Bulldogs reached double figures on their way to 9/97 at stumps.
Emerson Marks (30), Henstchske (21) and Travis Younghusband (26) were the only shining lights with the bat.
Waters claimed three wickets, while Josh Doyle and Zack Williams both claimed two.