LIKELY to require a reverse outright victory to make the Sale-Maffra cricket finals, Maffra will need to improve on its first innings showing with the bat.
After being bowled out for 59 and seeing Boisdale-Briagolong narrowly claim first innings points, the Eagles resume this Saturday on 1-36, a lead of 23.
Brett Lanigan and Nathan Magnuson will resume the innings.
Quick runs may be the order of the day to give the Eagles enough time to bowl the Saints out to claim outright points.
Fourth-placed Maffra went into the final round 6.02 points ahead of Boisdale-Briagolong in sixth.
That gap could be reduced to around 0.02 if Stratford unsuccessfully appeals the loss of points for not registering a professional player.
The matter is expected to be resolved before play resumes on Saturday.
The five teams Stratford defeated this season, including Maffra and Boisdale-Briagolong, could receive the maximum amount of points received for that round. This would advantage the Saints, whose loss to the Redbacks coincided with Sale’s outright win over Collegians.
In this scenario, the Saints have already passed the Eagles on the ladder after claiming first innings points.
If Stratford is successful in its appeal and the Redbacks defeat Sale City, points for runs scored and wickets taken could decide who makes the finals.
An outright win would make life easier for the finals aspirants.
STRATFORD needs another 125 runs to secure first innings points against Sale City.
The Redbacks’ innings began solidly with openers Chris Aurisch and Sam Anstee batting through to stumps last weekend.
The Redbacks should know by Saturday whether they have kept their points and if they are still in the finals chase. A Stratford win and a first innings loss for Maffra could be enough to move the Redbacks into the top four.
The Lizards will also fancy their chances of an upset victory as early wickets could rattle the Redbacks.
WITH first innings points secure, Bundalaguah could look towards an outright win against Sale.
Stratford’s loss of points could benefit the Bulls, who would gain points to move them from third on the table to the top.
Currently on top of the table, Sale could fall out of the top two and relinquish a home final if it can’t force a reverse outright.
After bowling Sale out for 50, the Bulls lead by 112 with three wickets in hand. One of those wickets is Adrian Burgiel, who was unavailable last week and has averaged almost 50 since joining the club mid-season.
WITH a chance of claiming the minor premiership, Rosedale-Kilmany requires 126 runs to defeat Collegians.
Leigh Freshwater and captain Brad Scott will resume the Warriors innings on Saturday with nine wickets in hand.
Victory will at least ensure the Warriors a home semi-final. They could move to the top if Stratford retains its points and Sale doesn’t have an outright win at Bundalaguah.