HAWKESDALE paceman James North’s decision to return home for a friend’s 21st birthday party yielded a cricket present to remember.
North’s fast bowling performance lifted Hawkesdale to a stunning comeback win over Purnim on Saturday.
Hawkesdale seemingly had no chance of victory after being reduced to 7-45 before being bowled out for just 79 in the round three one-day game at Purnim.
But the left-armer North charged in and ripped the heart out of Purnim’s batting line-up, taking the first seven wickets. He finished with the remarkable figures of 7-16 from eight overs as Purnim was routed for 45 in 26 overs.
Hawkesdale skipper Murray Habel said North had “a day out”.
“He ended up getting on three hat-tricks,” he said.
“There were four for the day. (Purnim’s) Symon Wilde was on a hat-trick in our innings and then he had to face a hat-trick ball when he was batting. It was an amazing game.”
Habel said North, who is a university student in Bendigo, had finished with career-best figures. “He just bowled line and length, stump to stump,” he said.
“He was getting a fair amount of swing. He’s got a good in-swinger and got a couple with that.”
Habel said his side had never dreamt of victory.
“Defending 79 we just went out there to have a bit of fun and see if we could get a few early wickets and put them under some pressure. We just got on a roll and they couldn’t get any partnerships.”
The win lifted Hawkesdale to third, ahead of a clash with Yambuk on Saturday.
Habel said he hoped North would play more matches throughout the season but his appearances depended on whether he was returning home from Bendigo.
Killarney remains the only unbeaten side in the competition after coach Brett Halliwell inspired the Crabs to a comfortable win over Panmure Pups.
Halliwell was Killarney’s leading wicket-taker with 3-32 as his side restricted the Pups to 6-124. Halliwell (55) and Brendan McMahon (50) shared a 66-run stand for the opening partnership, with the skipper making all but 11 of those.
The Crabs took the points with eight wickets in hand.
Ben Small bowled Grassmere to a significant win over Yambuk.
Small (5-14) and Craig Spikin (2-19) were the chief destroyers as they reduced Yambuk to 7-43. Veterans Corey Sinnott (41) and Steve Gleeson (37) shared a 74-run stand for the eighth wicket to give their bowlers hope of defending the tally.
But Spikin capped another fine all-round game, hitting 51 runs as he and Peter Sedgley (28) shared an 80-run second-wicket stand.
The Meerkats achieved their target for the loss of just four wickets with 10 overs to spare.
It was a similar early finish for reigning premier Panmure Bulldogs, which ran through Wangoom Roosters. The Roosters managed just 80 and in reply the Bulldogs made the runs with 13 overs in hand.
The Bulldogs are now second, tied on two wins and a loss with Hawkesdale and Grassmere.