AARON Hazlewood showed why Old Boys might just be the lurking tiger in the Tamworth first grade cricket “safari”.
Hazlewood claimed 4-15 with the ball and then smacked 51 off just 35 balls to steer his Old Boys side to a five wicket win over Bective-East Bulls in their T20 match at Chaffey Park on Saturday morning.
It was a brilliant display from the clean-hitting allrounder and earned him the three points in the Tamworth first grade best and fairest to edge him up to five points, equal with Old Boys skipper Ben Middlebrook but 11 adrift of leaders Josh Crowe (South) and Bective Bull Adam Jones, who polled the two points.
Jones smacked a quickfire 37 off 27 deliveries in Bective’s 116 and then picked up 2-24 opening the bowling with his darting medium-pacers.
Chaise Crough earned the one point after hitting four fours in his 40-ball 31 and 53-run third wicket partnership with Hazlewood.
For Hazlewood, the wickets and runs were a good return to form although he admitted his early batting display was fairly ordinary.
“It wasn’t good to start with,” Hazlewood said after the five-wicket win.
“I did start to see them in the end though.
“It’s always good to get some wickets and runs.
“I haven’t done much all season.
“But we’re also starting to come right at the right end of the season.
“Hopefully we can make a run from here.”
Old Boys have won their last three games to jump back into fourth on the NICU premiership ladder.
“We’re starting to play better,” Hazlewood said.
“We’re a bit more dedicated. We struggled at the start of the season with people away and unavailable.
“But we’re back to near full strength.
“It’s good to have Will (Howard) back from injury and Middlebrook fit.
“Simon (Norvill) is due too,” he said of explosive top-order batsman Simon Norvill.
North Tamworth middle order bat Kyle Wells showed the strength of the Redbacks when he earned the three points in his side’s nine-run win over West.
He came up from second grade to blast 31 from 31 balls and give the Redbacks a 127-run total.
They defended that by restricting West to 6-118 after Daniel Cunningham continued his limited overs form with a 37-run haul for West.
North skipper Michael Rixon underlined his value to the side by scoring 17 from 17 balls and then claiming 2-21 from his four overs of off-spin.
His one point elevated him to 10 points and equal fourth on the B&F table with South Tamworth’s James Psarakis.
South paceman Jamie Hammond moved up to seven points and seventh on the B&F table when he received the three points in his side’s 11-run win over City United.
South was 7-25 at one stage before making 9-93.
Hammond (14no) and fellow paceman Jake Everett (13no) added a match-winning 32 for the final wicket before they took the new ball and restricted City United early.
In the end, City United finished 7-82, with Hammond taking 1-15 from his four overs and Everett allowing 15 from his four.
City United’s Jade Thompson earned two points after taking 1-28 from his eight overs and then smacking 22 off 13 balls to give his side a glimmer of a chance in their run chase.
Tom Groth polled the one point after making 22 for South.
He and Richard Rowlings (16) added 34 for the eighth wicket to set the scene for Hammond and Everett to blow the score out past 90.
Rowlings also bowled well to claim 2-15 from his four overs.
Hammond was surprised with his three points but delighted with the way his side worked together.
“That was a good effort by the boys to defend 93,” Hammond said.
“We’ve had a hard season with a lot of players in and out every week but the team is starting to come together.
“It’s a reasonably similar side to last year, with a good mix of younger players and us old blokes.
“Jake did bat real well and bowled well too.”