WHEN Eaglehawk secured Russell Stockdale as a new leg-spinner during the BDCA off-season, skipper Cory Jacobs needed some advice on how to set fields for a tweaker.
Such has been the Hawks’ propensity for their attack to be built on speed and medium-pace, Jacobs isn’t used to playing in a side with a front-line spinner.
So he rang his older brother, Linton Jacobs, who for years had been setting fields for leg-spinner Cameron Taylor at BDCA rival Strathdale-Maristians.
“We talk cricket a fair bit and one of the phone calls we had I was asking him where do I put the fielders for Russ… I’m not used to setting fields for a spinner,” Jacobs said on Friday.
“He gave me a bit of advice and some ideas around different types of batsmen and different scenarios, but also said I’d have my own gut feel about things as well.”
Considering the way in which Jacobs is setting spin fields has been aided by some advice from Linton – who is sidelined for the meantime with a knee injury – adds a sense of irony to Stockdale’s bowling performance last weekend as he took a six-wicket haul against the Suns.
Defending 230 at Canterbury Park, Stockdale bagged an impressive 6-41 off 29 overs as the Hawks dismissed the Suns for 185.
Before last Saturday, the Hawks hadn’t had a spinner take at least five wickets in a first XI innings since Jeremy Brown’s 5-36 against Golden Square in round 10 of the 2003-04 season.
Stockdale – recruited from Finley – leads the BDCA bowling with 14 wickets after three games, while he has also chipped in with 67 runs to quickly prove a valuable Borough acquisition.
“Russ has been a fantastic inclusion for us and given us some variety with our attack,” Jacobs said.
“It has been a while since we’ve had a genuine spinner as a regular part of our team. He gets along with the boys really well and has brought into our culture at the club really well.
“He has a crack with the bat and is a good fielder, so he has added a lot of flexibility to our line-up.”
After spending the bulk of last season playing catch-up after they got off to a 0-3 start in their premiership defence, the Hawks have begun their 2018-19 campaign on a far more positive note.
They are 2-1, second on the ladder and also have an outright win in the bag after securing maximum points against White Hills in round two and still have gun left-arm paceman Shaun Knott to inject into the team.
As well as Stockdale’s form with the ball, Anthony West has also got away to a strong start with the bat with scores of 117 n.o. and 64 among his first three innings. Although, he did hurt a quad in last week’s win over the Suns.
“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves… we know Strathdale had three really good players (Ben DeAraugo, Jack Neylon and Ryan Haythorpe) out last week, but having said that, I thought we did well to defend 230 on that wicket,” Jacobs said.
In what’s shaping as wide-open premiership race this season, the Hawks have another big game in round four starting Saturday against Strathfieldsaye.
Like the Hawks, the Jets, who have been strengthened by the inclusion of a pair of Sri Lankan imports in Chathura Damith and Savith Priyan, have also made a 2-1 start and already look a much stronger side than the one that finished seventh last season.
Saturday’s matches get under way at 1pm.
• Saturday’s round four BDCA games:
Strathdale-Maristians v Bendigo United
at Bell Oval.
Last time – Strathdale-Maristians 332 d Bendigo United 233.
Strathfieldsaye v Eaglehawk
at Tannery Lane.
Last time – Eaglehawk 7-150 d Strathfieldsaye 115 & 7-127.
Golden Square v Huntly-North Epsom
at Golden Square.
Last time – Golden Square 4-211 d Huntly-North Epsom 9-206.
Kangaroo Flat v Bendigo
Last time – Bendigo 214 d Kangaroo Flat 170.
White Hills v Sandhurst
at White Hills.
Last time – White Hills 6-272 d Sandhurst 258.
247 – Jake Klemm
208 – Tim Wood
194 – Ollie Geary
183 – Anthony West
173 – Pat Felmingham
171 – Mitch Winter-
Irving (White Hills)
155 – Gavin Bowles
150 – Ben Devanny
141 – Kyle Humphrys
130 – Danushka
129 – Scott Woodman
14 – Russell Stockdale
13 – Kyle Humphrys
10 – Miggy Podosky
9 – Ben Gunn
8 – Savith Priyan
8 – Chathura Damith
8 – Jack Bourke
7 – Chris Barber
7 – Taylor Beard
7 – Cameron Taylor
7 – Richard Tibbett
LEADING MVP POINTS:
401 – Kyle Humphrys
372 – Jake Klemm
372 – Russell Stockdale
274 – Cameron Taylor
266 – Ben Gunn
264 – Alex Pearson
261 – Mitch Winter-
Irving (White Hills)
251 – Chathura Damith
248 – Anthony West
243 – Miggy Podsoky
240 – Savith Priyan
238 – Tim Wood
• Most Valuable Player scoring is 1 point per run, 20 points per wicket, 10 points per catch, 15 points per run out/stumping.
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