Rain could spoil Sale-Maffra cricket again

Liam Durkin

SALE-Maffra cricketers could be facing an on-again-off-again day on Saturday, as players and officials try to get the 2020-21 season underway after round one was washed out at the weekend.

Rain is again forecast for the region on Saturday.

BOISDALE-Briagolong will travel to Maffra.

The outing will present the Saints with an opportunity to welcome back the Bolton brothers, Dylan and Lewis, in a playing capacity, and all involved will be keen to see them prosper, along with opening bowler Jonny Lash who has made the move from Stratford.

With the injection of some high profile names into the team, Boisdale-Briagolong will need to ensure it doesn’t get too far ahead of itself and think new players will automatically get the Saints the points needed to play finals without coming to games with the right mindset.

Probably the biggest challenge for new captain-coach Dylan Bolton will be bridging the gap between the Saints’ best and worst cricket, which has arguably been their Achilles heel – even during their premiership season of 2018-19.

Bolton had a good record against Maffra last season as a pinch-hitter, with scores of 26, 26 and 37 down the order, and he will be looking to pick up where he left of.

Maffra will want to just get the job done in as comfortable a manner as possible.

The Eagles appear to be the quintessential team of mates that just play for each other, which has ensured a united front over the years.

Under the leadership of top order batsman Josh Davis and Lee Hopkins as captain and coach respectively, Maffra players will know what is required.

The Eagles raised a few eyebrows by naming Josh Rurawhe in the seconds last week, so onlookers will be keeping an eye on where he lines up on Saturday.

BUNDALAGUAH will clash with Sale at Colin Wrigglesworth Oval.

The Bulls made something of a mockery of the Gippsland Times‘ pre-season burning question which asked if they had enough bowling depth when they named Steve Spoljaric, Nathan King and Lachlan Floyd in their round one team last weekend. With those three names partnering with the likes of Gayashan Munsinghe, Nathan Whitford and Jake Wynd, Bundalaguah should have no shortage of options to get through 40 overs.

Saturday’s match will present an interesting contrast in game styles, especially in the bowling department, as Bundalaguah appears to have mainly explosive operators, while Sale has bowlers who just stay patient and give little away.

This hallmark was a feature of the Swans’ premiership success last season, as many opposition batsman found Sale bowlers hard to go out to, but just as hard to score against.

Sale will be aiming to continue this style, and if bowlers like Ben Jones and Andrew Nicholas can bowl with two slips and one gully in place for as long as possible, the Swans should see themselves winning more often than not.

STRATFORD and Collegians will face off in what is shaping as a close contest.

The two teams are similar in a way, in as much that both have players who have been around for a while, as well as some very good players under the age of 25.

Both teams also have some players just coming out or still in juniors, and given the break, they might be a little bit too over-enthusiastic to play, which could be something Stratford captain Taylor Tatterson and Collegians’ counterpart Zac Hurley will need to address.

With strike bowlers Jonny Lash and Jack Wrigglesworth gone, the Redbacks skipper might have to play as more of an all-rounder this season, and he could be seen sending down a few handy overs of above medium pace on Saturday.

Tatterson only bowled 15 overs last season, but has opened the bowling in the past and knows what he is doing.

Collegians’ has no shortage of big hitters, who will all want to hit a few out of the screws on Saturday.

Hurley will go out to face the music, with the aim of ticking the score along.

The College modus operandi in one-day games is generally to get as close to 200 as possible, and if any one of Hurley, Stuart Anderson or the returning Elliot Durrant is still in at the back end of the innings, they should have the ingredients to get up around that mark.

ROSEDALE-Kilmany will welcome Longford.

The Lizards will be hoping the drive west is worth it, while the Warriors will want to begin their season off on the right note.

Longford captain Matthew Johns will more than likely open the batting again this season, and it is hoped players such as Lachlan Cunningham, Cameron Wrigglesworth, Connor Lay and Austin Bauer will keep improving.

Club favourite William White will no doubt again be the heart and soul of the team, and his presence could inspire the Lizards to great heights.

As always, Rosedale-Kilmany will play a respected brand of cricket, and will be looking to keep its strong home ground record intact.

The Warriors’ team of mostly local players always provide a great challenge, and if players the calibre of Rohan Diamond or Brad Scott have a day out – there can be no stopping them.