Unbeaten Keira tackle Northern Districts in round five of Illawarra cricket

Keira captain Kyle Connor has warned his side’s best is yet to come despite their undefeated start to the season.

The Lions have emerged as early competition favourites after winning their opening four games and Connor praised the way different players have stepped up with key contributions at different times throughout the season.

“I think both batsmen and bowlers have jelled well pretty quickly.” Connor said. “I don’t think we’ve quite hit our peak yet, but we’re improving all the time and playing well as a team.”

Strong start: Spin bowler Troy Coleman has played a key role in Keira's undefeated start to the season. Picture: Robert Peet.

Strong start: Spin bowler Troy Coleman has played a key role in Keira's undefeated start to the season. Picture: Robert Peet.

“We’ve had one person stand up each week. Last week was a tough deck to bat on but Dan Constable got in and fought hard against the ball that was moving a bit. Also Nick Theodossiadis did well scoring 33. 

“Different batsmen are standing up at different times, which has been good.”

Keira face a stern test on Saturday in the form of a Northern Districts side that has won its last two matches.

In one of the most impressive displays of the season, the Butchers bowled Wests out for 46 last Saturday before comfortably chasing down the total in under seven overs. 

Connor acknowledges his side has a tough match ahead, but he is confident they can extend their unbeaten run.

“We just have to keep going as we are. We know our opposition are going to get a bit stronger each week so we need to keep improving.

“We have a good test against Northern Districts on Saturday. They’ve started well and had a big win over Wests last week. They bowled them out for less than 50 and chased it down easily, so we’ll have to be on our game.

“They’ve got a strong opening bowling pair that we need to get our way through, they’ve also got really strong spinners so we’ll have to be watchful early on with the bat. Hopefully if we can get off to a good start with our openers and keep wickets in hand we can cash in later on.”

The Northern Districts task has been made even tougher after batting all rounder Jonathan Fowles was forced to withdraw from the match due to a uni exam.

Captain Lachlan Dunn acknowledged the magnitude of the loss, especially given the form Keira left arm spinner Troy Coleman has been in of late.

“He’s our opening batsman and has got a start in every game with the bat so he will be difficult to replace.” Dunn said. 

“He’s also very good in the field and with the ball, so it will be a bit of a job to replace him, but hopefully we can pick up the slack.” 

In a sign of how good Coleman has bowled this season, Dunn conceded the team’s plan will be to simply get through his 10 overs unscathed.

“He can only bowl 10 overs, so if we can see him out it will be all good. We just need to be patient, we need to see off the good balls he bowls, but he will bowl a bad ball and when it comes we need to take advantage of the opportunity.”

With no Keira players selected in the Country Championships side, Keira will field a near full strength side, with only wicketkeeper Luke Hunter missing the match.

Illawarra Cricket Round Five

Saturday November 11 11.30am: BALGOWNIE v CORRIMAL Judy Masters Oval, DAPTO v PORT KEMBLA Reed Oval, HELENSBURGH v WESTS ILLAWARRA Rex Jackson Oval, NORTHERN DISTRICTS v KEIRA Hollymount Park, WOLLONGONG v UNIVERSITY North Dalton​