THE penultimate round of the Gippsland Cricket League season will take place this Sunday, with drastic ramifications on the line to those who do not return home with their desired results.
The timing of Sunday’s matches may not produce the most attractive cricket imaginable, as most clubs across Gippsland will be holding Christmas break-up parties the day before, meaning a number of players may be fronting up to representative matches in less than ideal states.
Sale-Maffra can sew-up a spot in next February’s final with victory over Warragul, but will have to do so on the Wild Dogs’ home deck at Bellbird Park, Drouin.
The Sharks accounted for a depleted Traralgon in their last match, while Warragul will be desperate to register its first win of the season after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory just over a fortnight ago.
Both associations boast the league’s top two leading run scorers in Ben Jones and Fraser Duncan, so the match should produce some high quality, if at times ultraconservative, batting.
The match between Bairnsdale and Traralgon to be played at Nagle College has the most hanging on it, as the loser will find it difficult to make up enough ground to force its way back into the top two.
Traralgon should welcome back a few handy inclusions, while Bairnsdale will be relying on its disciplined bowling attack of Michael Comber, Luke Endley and Corey Fraser to force a winning hand.
The match between Leongatha and Latrobe Valley at Wonthaggi will offer the opportunity for a few Latrobe Valley players to mount their case for Country Week selection, after the red pen was probably put through a few names in the past two matches.
The Latrobe Valley side will be looking for an historic first GCL win, while Leongatha will be aiming to make it two victories in succession, and aim for more consistency in its top six batman who have been prone to collapsing in their GCL campaign so far this season.
Junior grades will resume in 2019, with twenty20 matches to be played on January 20 for the under 18s, and January 13 for the under 16s.
Play in the women’s competition on Sunday was cancelled because of forecast rain.
The round, including Sale-Maffra’s match against Warragul at the College Oval, will be rescheduled.