In what was poised to be an evenly contested battle on Day 1 between 7th Placed St George and 8th Placed Wests was turned on its head in one amazing over by Trent Copeland.
It was one of the hottest scorchers of the season as the Saints won the toss and elected wisely to bat first but found themselves in early trouble at 2-47 against a spirited Wests bowling attack. Opener Blake Nikitaris combined with Luke Bartier to get the score to 97 before Nikitaris was caught for 34.
Vital wickets continued to tumble but thanks to some gutsy batting from Bartier (43), NSW legend Trent Copeland (27) and Tom Engelbrecht (52) the Saints were eventually dismissed for 231 from 76.5 overs. St George skipper, Nick Stapleton was a little disappointed with the total and commented “There was enough in the pitch but we should have scored more”.
This left St George with 12 overs at a Wests batting line up that has been piecing together some very healthy scores of late. Saints openers Copeland and Peter Francis combined for a wicket each which bought in gun Wests Captain Josh Clarke who had scored 179 not out against Manly the previous game. Clarke proceeded to get on with business making his way to 14 off 33 balls until the penultimate over of the day where all hell broke loose. At 2-39 Trent Copeland managed to rip one through to Clarke’s stumps before removing the next two batsman for golden ducks to claim a rare Hat Trick.
Western Suburbs finishing the day reeling at 5-44. The NSW milestone man, finished with figures of 4-21 off 6 lively overs. “I was extremely pleased to contribute as a win is crucial to the Saints hopes of making the top 6” Copeland remarked. “What will be memorable about this hat trick was that all three batsman were left handers including Clarke who has been on fire this season.”
The haul takes Copeland to 386 First Grade wickets for St George. In Sheffield Shield cricket he has taken 296 wickets which sees him behind just Geoff Lawson (367), Greg Matthews (363) and Stuart MacGill (328) as the most successful wicket takers for NSW. Not bad for a guy who started at St George as a wicket keeper.
Play continues at Pratten Park this Saturday from 10.30am.