Hat-trick game changer for Werribee

Werribee's Tim O'Brien. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

Werribee opening bowler Jonathan Burton demonstrated why you should avoid leaving a sporting event early.

In the last over of day one against Yarraville in the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association at Chirnside Park on Saturday, Burton had the fans in raptures as he produced a hat-trick with the first three balls of the over, giving his side a huge boost going into the second day.

Tigers captain-coach Tim O’Brien could not believe what he was seeing with the time clock moving towards 6pm as Burton turned an OK day into a special one for the Tigers

“I’ve never played in a game where a hat-trick was taken – that’s the first one,” O’Brien said.

It was an incredible way for the day’s play to finish considering much of the afternoon was dominated by the batsmen.

Werribee posted 9-233 declared, but faded late on.

At one stage the Tigers were cruising at 113 without loss, courtesy of a superb opening stand between Adam Alifraco (75) and Matt Dean (36). Alifraco and Dean both fell with the score on 113, but O’Brien (66) and Shaun Dean (20) combined for a 72-run partnership to take the score to 3-185.

That’s when things got tricky for Werribee, and they lost their last six wickets for 48 before the declaration.

All this happened while Yarraville was producing a slow over rate.

The Eagles would barely have got through 70 overs had the Tigers decided not to declare.

But O’Brien made a bold decision to have a dip at snaring some early Eagles wickets with the final three overs of play. He never expected to have Yarraville in trouble on 3-2 at stumps.

“If we had’ve batted an extra three minutes, the game would’ve been called off at 68 overs,” O’Brien said. “I thought with nine down, we might as well have a couple of overs at them and it panned out alright for us. I don’t think Yarraville expected it.

“It sort of threw them out a bit, so it was to our advantage.”

It leaves Yarraville with just seven wickets in hand to score a further 232 runs.

Earlier in the day, Alifraco produced his best knock of the summer with 75.

Alifraco’s knock could have massive implications for the finals’ chance of both sides with the Eagles sitting seventh and the Tigers a game back in ninth.

“He’s got the ability, so hopefully we can see that more often from him,” O’Brien said

While Werribee has the momentum following Burton’s hat-trick, O’Brien knows there is still plenty to play out in this contest.

“[Matthew] Harrison and [Matthew] Love are their two best batsmen and are still yet to bat, so it’s still game on,” O’Brien said.

Meanwhile, Hoppers Crossing will need to bowl to its maximum capabilities if it is defend a small total of 185 against Preston at Preston City Oval.

Trent Said was the standout for the Cats with 64, while Will Partington-Gardner chimed in with 29. Brett Smith took a late wicket for the Cats to have Preston on 1-3 at stumps.