Winners to be in a festive mood

Liam Durkin

BATSMAN will strap on their coloured pads and fielding sides will be decked out in their club colours in Sale-Maffra cricket on Saturday, as the final round before the mid-season break results in one-day fixtures taking place.

Teams across the association will be looking to have reason to celebrate Christmas early, in what sees a number of genuine 50-50 games scheduled.

ROSEDALE-Kilmany will host Collegians in what could be a fierce contest.

When the sides played each other in round four, the Warriors were unlucky to lose the rain-affected game which saw twice as many overs bowled at College Oval than there was at Sale Oval, no less than three kilometres away.

Collegians got the points in that encounter but have not won a game since, having experienced the unfamiliar feeling of losing three games in succession. The Warriors have also had an interesting run since they played Collegians, recording a draw, loss and win.

The draw against Boisdale-Briagolong would have been hard to swallow given Rosedale-Kilmany was on track to win, but the team was able to put it all together last round against Stratford, securing its best win for the season after threatening to take a scalp for a few weeks.

Rosedale-Kilmany has leapfrogged Collegians on the ladder, and now sits in fourth position heading into Saturday’s game. The Warriors are ahead by two points, having lost one less game than Collegians, and will be gunning to consolidate a place in the top four before the break.

Dylan Rowley put in a strong performance last week for the Warriors, taking four wickets and scoring 40 not out, and will be wanting to back up his efforts.

Collegians will take some confidence into the game after making 259 against Bundalaguah a fortnight ago, and will be hoping the top order puts on another good show.

The Morrison brothers have been bowling well for College, and will be tasked with taking as many scalps as possible on Saturday.

OUTRIGHT second spot will be awarded to the victor of the match between third-placed Maffra and second-placed Stratford.

The two teams will enter the match coming off differing results, with the Eagles easily accounting for Boisdale-Briagolong, and the Redbacks looking to get back on the winners’ list.

Maffra has been quietly going about its business this season, with its players just doing what is required to get the job done.

Batsman Jack Egan is having a great season, scoring 216 runs at an average of 108. The Eagles have also shown they bat deep, with a final wicket partnership yielding 82 runs last round.

Stratford will present a good challenge and a high standard match should ensue.

Stratford’s first real stumble of the season occurred last week at the hands of Rosedale-Kilmany, and Redback officials will be hoping this performance was just an aberration.

No Stratford player is currently in the top 10 on the league batting aggregate, but given the side has only lost two games so far this season, this is probably actually a good thing and shows the team is not reliant on a select few. With such an even spread of contributors capable of making scores regardless of where they bat in the order, Stratford will use this as a reference point when it takes the field on Saturday.

LONGFORD and Boisdale-Briagolong will meet at Stephenson Park, in what could be a game played at a finals like intensity.

Both sides will go into the match entertaining thoughts of a win, and will be eager to taste victory before the year is out.

Longford couldn’t quite chase the target set by Sale last round, but would have been pleased to see players the likes of Lachlan Cunningham make some runs. A loyal servant to Longford, Cunningham scored 72 opening the batting, and will be determined to have a similar output against the Saints.

The Lizards must feel a win isn’t too far away, and have been working hard outside of training days to give themselves every chance of success.

Boisdale-Briagolong continue to be a hard team to read, as a character-building win over Collegians

and follow-up heavy loss to Maffra saw it perform at either end of the scale. With this in mind, the Saints will know their best is good enough to knock over any team in the competition, but will need to come prepared to grind out sessions if the going gets tough.

The side may put the acid on players other than Toby Leeds, Jonathan Beech, Liam Hurst, Louis Howard and Todd Mann to step up and help out.

BUNDALAGUAH will be feeling good about itself as it prepares to take on Sale.

The Bulls were in trouble at the end of day one against Collegians last round, at 2-21 chasing 259 before an innings of 136 to Steve Spoljaric virtually single-handily got them over the line on day two.

A win to Bundalaguah tomorrow will make things interesting when teams return next year, and could create a log jam between places three and six on the ladder.

More Spoljaric heroics could be on the cards tomorrow, although the Bulls have other quality players in their team who could turn it on.

Sale remains unbeaten in season 2019-20, and will want nothing more than to go into the break with their record intact.

The Swans have responded to every challenge in the first half of the season, and are mounting a strong case of having the best spin bowling combination in the competition, as Coenie Nel and Daniel Croft continue to take wickets between them. John Mayman has also got on the wicket taking train, and currently sits on 13.

Skipper Rohan Blandford is in form, and the Bundalaguah bowlers will be working hard to see the back of him.