Ben O'Connell
Ben O'Connell Contributed

O'Connell's 6-40 stuns Northsiders as Centrals prevail

CENTRAL Districts have shown they are Premier League title contenders with a two-day win over last year's champions Northsiders.

The hard work was done for the visitors on day one when they racked up 7-283 declared and had Northsiders struggling at 3-22.

On Saturday they continued on with the home team unable to combat Ben O'Connell's left arm turners, falling for 150 all out.

O'Connell led the way with the ball, claiming 6-40 to ensure a comfortable first innings victory.

"Those three wickets we lost on day one hurt a lot," Northsiders paceman Kev Cumming said.

Northsiders needed a rock solid start to day two to have any chance.

Resuming pair Doug Lutherburrow (10) and Brendan Forward (16) put on 26 before O'Connell struck. From there, Northsiders struggled to build any partnerships other than the 67 Aaron Nugter (29) and Darren Barbour (37) put on for the seventh wicket.

The premiers were unable to take advantage of a Jensen Oval pitch and outfield ripe for boundaries, with poor short selection proving their undoing under a blazing sun.

"It was dry and fast," Cumming said

"Ben O'Connell got a bit of turn but there were silly shots as well."

Centrals forced Northsiders to follow on but the home team got its act together the second time with Forwood (69), Nugter (34) and Lutherburrow (24 not out) batting into some form as Northsiders reached 5-164 at stumps.

It was Northsiders' first defeat of the season, in which they failed to reach any great heights.

Cumming was far from concerned however, knowing well his team's habit of saving its best for later in the season.

"We should go alright on other wickets," he said.

Northsiders hope to return to their genuine home ground, Keith Sternberg Oval mid-season.

By then the left-arm paceman expects Northsiders to be back in championship form.

"For sure," Cumming said.

"I still rate us one of the best teams in the comp. Not many others have the depth we've got."

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