A determined bowling effort ensured North Sportsman’s avoided defeat to East Gambier in the second Big Bash Semi Final at Frew Park on Sunday. The Tigers had to overcome a number of hurdles to qualify for the decider and the Bulldogs threw the first in the second over of the game.
After North won the toss and choose to bat, East claimed the initiative after Kev Thomson dismissed Nick McInerney with his first delivery. Elliott Fisher and Brad Stafford also fell cheaply and the Tigers needed their middle order to stand up at 3/17.
Despite being knocked off his feet by a vicious Alex Hentschke bouncer, Jordan Hollitt regrouped and played a match-defining knock. He built solid partnerships with Mitch Lewis and Kayne Badman, while one over changed the course of the game.
Although East’s bowlers had dictated terms, Hollitt and Badman broke the shackles to slam 24 runs of a single Travis Younghusband over. It allowed North to post the defendable total of 7/119 despite a late flurry of wickets including Ben Hentschke claiming two in as many overs.
Some may have felt the Tigers did not have enough runs on the board, but their bowlers believed after Tim Young cleaned up Dion Stratford with his first ball. In response to three early wickets, Alex Hentschke and Emerson Marks reconsolidated the run chase with smart foot work.
But just as they threatened to take the game away, Elliott Fisher’s four over spell of 2/11 turned the tide. The Bulldogs fell into a hole losing 6/19 to be all out for 95.