Yet to find its rhythm, yet to gain full momentum, yet sitting in third spot on the CTPL ladder, it has been that kind of start to the season for North Hobart.
The Demons 2023-24 campaign has gone a one-wicket loss, a victory, a bye, a two-wicket loss and then last round’s emphatic win over the Greater Northern Raiders in the first two-day game of the season.
After posting 202, North Hobart quick Alex Pyecroft ran through the Raiders top order as the visitors were rolled for just 142. The Demons were unable to push on for an outright win, but the first innings victory has them right back in the hunt.
Demons’ coach Richard Cowlard said he felt his side took a significant step forward.
“It was an excellent result for the team after our inconsistent start to the season,” Cowlard said.
“Even though it is not how we wanted to start the season, we are confident that our season is still on track to reach the desired outcomes.”
Pyecroft’s 5-50 – including four of the first five wickets to fall – has taken the 31-year-old former Tigers paceman to eight wickets in just three games at a cost of only 13 runs each.
“Alex is an exceptional player,” Cowlard said.
“He showed his value and experience in both games against the Raiders.
“He is always looking to contribute with the bat and ball and tries to ensure he puts himself in a position to win the game for the team.
“After his season in the UK, he is hungry to do well for the club and has been working hard on his game.”
One area Cowlard is looking for improvement going into the round six two-day game against New Town at New Town is consistent top-order runs, an issue shared across most of the league to date.
“We have seen a number of good individual performances from our batters,” he said.
“They haven’t been able to kick on resulting in us loosing regular wickets at crucial times.
“To their own credit our batters have identified we need to be better in this area and I am confident we will see better performances all round.”
New Town is coming off its first win of the season last round, a six-run thriller over Lindisfarne. Despite the lack of wins the Bucks recruit Caelan Maladay and off-spinner Jesse Willmott have been outstanding to be joint leaders on the league wicket-takers list with 10 apiece.
It will be first versus second at the Twin Ovals when Kingborough hosts University with the Knights having last weekend off due to a Glenorchy forfeit, while the Lions suffered their first loss of the season going down to Clarence.
Before the game was abandoned after day one, Knights skipper Dylan Hay registered his highest score and the highest individual score of the season in making 185 not out and will be looking to continue this hot form against Uni.
Glenorchy takes on Lindisfarne at the Anzac Park, while South Hobart-Sandy Bay – starved of action due to two byes and a washout in the first five rounds – hosts Clarence at Queenborough Oval.
Both the Roos and the Sharks attack will be bolstered by the availability of Tigers pacemen Sam Rainbird and Gabe Bell respectively.
It is a Sunday of double-headers in the women’s CTPL with the top two teams going head-to-head and the same with the bottom two.
At Latrobe Oval, the Greater Northern Raiders host top side North Hobart in two T20 games, with the two in-form players of the competition going toe to toe.
North Hobart skipper Ella Marsh has blitzed the competition so far, taking 15 wickets at 8.5 runs each, nine more wickets than any other player.
Opposed to her will be Raiders’ opener Emma Manix-Geeves, the CTPL’s leading run scorer.
Manix-Geeves is coming off a sensational last round where she scored a 61-ball 93 not out and 76-ball 96 in the two games against New Town.
Clarence will be out to build on its first win of the season after defeating the Raiders in the second game of last Sunday, when it plays host to New Town at Kangaroo Bay.