Tables turned in Barber Shield

HAVING A CRACK: Mil Lel's Darcy Williamson helped push his team to an impressive outright victory over Penola in Round 5.

By Trevor Jackson

IT has been an interesting start to the 2023-24 Barber Shield cricket season, firstly with rain having little effect on the competition so far.

Last year’s premier West Gambier have had a solid run so far, while runner-up East Gambier has been less-than impressive – at times.

Last season saw West at the top of the ladder after the minor rounds, East second, South Gambier third and Penola fourth.

North Sportsman’s held down fifth spot, ahead of the bottom-placed Mil Lel.

This season has thrown a curve ball and with six rounds completed, Mil Lel now fights for top spot with West.

Both have been in impressive form, with West recording five wins and a loss from its six outings, while Mil Lel sits at four and two.

Mil Lel looked good from the opening round, as it easily accounted for South in the one-day fixture.

Half-centuries to William Rowland and Darcy Williamson showed plenty of promise for the season ahead.

They had no trouble overcoming Penola, off the back of a four-wicket haul from Mitchell Little.

A half-century to Jack Miller helped the side along to another victory.

A low point came in Round 3 against North, as the Tigers claimed a comfortable win.

Against South in Round 4, Mil Lel claimed another comfortable victory, this time with Dale Bachmann recording a half-century in the middle order.

Then in Round 5 the stars aligned for Mil Lel after an ordinary opening day with the bat.

Mil Lel knocked Penola over for 186 in the 49th over, then took the bat in hand and struggled.

By stumps on the first day they were 6/66 and looked out of the fight.

However, on day two of play Rowland stood tall and added another half-century, helped along by Archer Virtanen with 41.

The bottom order ensured the first-innings victory, which then became an outright after an impressive effort with the ball.

Mil Lel rounded out the year with a loss against West.

The Roos certainly look in good touch, with an opening-round defeat of East in the grand final rematch on the back of a century to Justin deJong.

They went on to lose against North in Round 2 and were back on track against South in Round 3, as Bray Stephenson hit his straps with a half-century.

They easily accounted for East in Round 4, before a big score of 9/302 against North in Round 5.

Bray Stephenson was again in good form with 79 runs, but it was the effort of Sam Willis which had everyone watching.

He managed 129 runs off just 78 deliveries at a strike rate of 165.38.

It included 10 boundaries and one maximum.

Of course in Round 6 they accounted for Mil Lel and look to be the in-form team of the competition.

Of the remaining teams, North is the best performer with four wins, one loss and one no-result after rain accounted for day two up at Penola in Round 4.

East sits with a 3/3 win/loss record, with a century to Alex Hentschke in Round 5 a highlight.

South has a 1/5 win/loss record, with Penola win-less at the bottom of the ladder.

With a break for Christmas, it will be interesting to see how it all pans out in 2024.