Top two showdown

A TOP of the table clash between Stratford and Bundalaguah will headline round 11 of Sale-Maffra cricket.

The contest could see the victor take the one-day title, decided this season by virtue of finishing on top of the one-day ladder, however, Maffra also has a chance to take it out on percentage.

Heading into the final round of one-day action for the season, all three sides sit on 26 points on the one-day table with just 0.0141 per cent separating third-placed Maffra from top of the table Stratford.

With just two losses for the season, one each in the one-day and twenty20 formats, the Redbacks are the form team of the competition and will be hoping it continues against a Bundalaguah side building for yet another finals assault.

Both sides are coming off big wins in round 10, which sets up an enthralling contest.

Chris Aurisch scored a century last week and will be a key wicket for Bundalaguah, while Ben Shepparson and Jack Tatterson were also dangerous in the middle order.

Bundalaguah also has a strong batting line-up, with captain Matt Dowsett and Jason Langshaw setting up a big score last week. Daniel Bedggood and Nathan Massey are also capable of big scores on their day.

Both sides have plenty of bowling options and did the job last week, with Bundalaguah’s regular opening bowler Dylan Rowley not required with the ball.

Another team effort will be required this week to restrict the opposition following the big scores of both sides in round 10.

With the spin bowling of Mark Donald and Dowsett often playing a big part for Bundalaguah, the Redbacks will go a long way to securing victory if they can smother their influence.

Pressure on Eagles

WHILE still in contention to take the one-day title, Maffra will focus on bouncing back to further consolidate its position in the top four when it takes on Collegians away from home.

One of the early stand-outs, the Eagles’ form has dipped, dropping back in the pack to sit mid range at five-four.

Just 0.0008 per cent separates the Eagles from the fifth-placed Boisdale-Briagolong, who was pushed all the way last week by Collegians.

Collegians will take heart in the result from last week, especially the contributions of its promising youngsters, and relish another opportunity to potentially shape the make-up of the top four.

Michael Cafferkey remains a key player for the home side, while there is plenty of young talent quite capable of backing him up on their day. Cooper Hall and Jesse Collins both contributed with the bat last week, while Luke Nicholls and Ned Hurley backed up the efforts of their captain with the ball.

Mitch Thacker will also hope for another opportunity after opening the batting last week.

Maffra bore the brunt of an aggressive Matt Dowsett last week.

With the bowling attack very capable of dismantling any opposition on its day, they will relish the opportunity to bounce back, none more so than spearhead Nathan Magnuson, who has 13 wickets this season to date.

With Sam Evison scoring a half century last week and Brett Lanigan and Josh Rurawhe coming off Gippsland Cricket League centuries, Maffra’s batting form bodes well in their bid to bounce back.

After receiving an injury scare last Saturday, Harry Thackray backed up with a GCL century of his own in the under 18s and will be right to go on Saturday.

Saints at Sale

PUSHED by Collegians last week, Boisdale-Briagolong will know its task doesn’t get any easier against Sale at Sale Oval.

Defeating Maffra prior to Christmas, Sale again showed it would not be an easy pushover last week in playing out a thrilling tie with Rosedale-Kilmany.

Despite a slow start to the season, Sale also boasts a good mix of youth and experience and remain capable of shaping the make-up of the top four.

Boasting a long batting line-up to go with its balanced bowling attack, the Saints would back themselves to get the job done but be aware of the need to respect their opponent as they look to keep in touch with the top four.

City hosts Warriors

ROSEDALE-Kilmany will be hoping to hold its nerve and account for Sale City at Stephenson Park.

Having to settle with a tie against Sale last week after being unable to complete the winning run on the final ball of the match, the Warriors would have taken second on the table with victory.

Just three points clear of Maffra and Boisdale-Briagolong, the Warriors will understand the importance of this match to keep its slender hold inside the top four.

Victory for Sale City could see it climb from bottom of the table.

Chasing a big total last week, Trevor Williams and Andrew Tyson did their bit to stem the tide with the ball while Scott Howarth and seasoned campaigner Layton Armstrong will relish the chance to bounce back.

Captain Jarryd Floyd, Armstrong and Lachie Floyd all got starts as the Lizards managed a competitive total last week, while several others in the line-up remain capable of getting a score.

The Lizards won’t be a push over on Saturday, and the Warriors will have to work hard for the win.