MAFFRA cricket teams will look to enter the Christmas-New Year break with some festive cheer with a win on Saturday.
A two-week break will follow the round of one-day matches.
The standings remain tight, with just over four points separating first and fifth on the ladder. A break has already been created to the next two teams, with Stratford and Boisdale-Briagolong 12 points adrift.
SALE will host Maffra in the match of the round. Sale is in fourth place on the ladder, four points behind Maffra in second. The Swans are less than 0.01 of a point ahead of fifth-placed Rosedale-Kilmany.
Maffra has won its past three matches, putting in a powerful display to defeat Boisdale-Briagolong at the weekend.
The Eagles scored 5-234 before dismissing the Saints for 127. Sale is enjoying a four-game winning run, but needed its bowlers to get out of trouble against Longford. Bowled out for 131, the Swans managed to see the Lizards finish 10 short.
The Swans will replace the Eagles in the top two if they win on Saturday.
LADDER leader Collegians will host bottom side Longford, in what will be the Lizards’ second local derby in as many weeks.
Longford did the work with the ball against Sale, but didn’t complete the job with the bat. The Lizards bowlers will need to replicate last weekend’s form if they are a chance to win.
Collegians ended a two-game losing run at the weekend, but survived a scare from Stratford in the process. Scoring 193 would normally set-up a comfortable win, but the Redbacks got within two runs.
STRATFORD can bridge the gap to the top four with victory at home against Rosedale-Kilmany.
Coming off back-to-back losses, including an agonising defeat to Collegians, the Redbacks will be keen to make amends.
The Warriors’ win over Bundalaguah was set-up by their bowlers, but needed an unbeaten 71 from captain Brad Scott to get them out of trouble during the chase.
Losses for Bundalaguah and Sale will move the Warriors into the top four if they defeat the Redbacks.
BUNDALAGUAH will host Boisdale-Briagolong. The Bulls fell from first spot to third with their loss to RK. Bowled out for a disappointing 138, the Bulls challenged the Warriors, who were 5-60 but didn’t lose another wicket to win.
The Saints struggled to chase down Maffra’s imposing total, with only one player making more than 20.
The Saints have talent, but will need to perform, or they’ll see their finals hopes slipping away.