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Neil produces superb spell

Mooroopna's Rod Neil has taken five wickets off five balls to claim a triple hat-trick against Pine Lodge in Cricket Shepparton's E-grade.

DAMEN FRANCIS December 12, 2013 4:10am

Mooroopna’s Rod Neil tore through Pine Lodge’s batsmen on Saturday to claim a triple hat-trick.

Mooroopna veteran Rod Neil’s days of lengthy spells with the ball are behind him, but he still has a trick or two up his sleeve.

Having bowled just seven overs this season in order to give his young teammates a go, the Cats’ E-grade captain was wicketless when he decided to take the new ball in the second innings against Pine Lodge last Saturday.

What followed was truly remarkable.

In just his second over, Neil, 45, bowled Lodgers opener Arnold Thompson for four and knocked over Matt Phillips with his next delivery.

Ryan Metcalfe suffered the same fate to hand Neil his hat-trick, but it didn’t end there.

Steven Pigatto was out stumped next ball, before Neil sealed an astonishing triple hat-trick by rattling Simon Berry’s cage for his fifth wicket in as many deliveries.

‘‘I was bowling reasonably sharp for an old fella,’’ Neil said.

‘‘I used to open the bowling, but I don’t usually now I’m captaining the side. I’ve tried to promote youth, so I’ve got the young blokes opening and I haven’t been bowling a lot myself.

‘‘It was the second innings and I thought I would give the young fellas a bit of a rest before I brought them back on again and it all happened then.

‘‘As I was going through them the boys were saying ‘that’s your last over’, they didn’t want me to bowl any more.

‘‘But I kept on bowling, I wasn’t listening to what they were telling me (laughs).’’

Neil’s wickets dried up after that, but he finished with figures of 5-15 from four overs and the Cats went on to win by an innings and 92 runs.

Neil played most of his cricket career at Karramomus, but retired aged 33 to raise his children.

He launched a comeback last season to play with his son, Ryan, who wanted to play for Mooroopna, where the family lives.

Ryan, 15, usually opens the bowling and has picked up 15 wickets in five E-grade matches this season, suggesting another R Neil could be terrorising opposition batsmen in years to come.

‘‘I’ve tried to teach him a thing or two, I think he’s done all right for a young bloke,’’ Neil said.

‘‘I love the game and I enjoy giving the young blokes a go and helping them learn a bit more about their cricket.’’

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