BUNDALAGUAH has a chance to break into the top four in Sale-Maffra cricket tomorrow.
In fifth place, the Bulls will take on third-placed Collegians in Sale, in a battle that is shaping up as match of the round.
If Bundalaguah wins and Boisdale-Briagolong defeats Stratford, the Bulls might switch positions with the Redbacks in the top half of the ladder.
After suffering a number of close losses before Christmas, Bundalaguah will be aiming to get on a roll from now in the lead up to finals.
While those close losses have obviously been difficult to take for the players, it has hardly affected the Bulls’ net run rate, which could come into play when positions are finalised at the end of the regular season.
Bundalaguah had an emphatic win over Longford last week, and most of its players should be feeling fresh considering only four people batted and the most overs anyone bowled was five.
Players within the SMCA may well just be living in Steve Spoljaric’s world at the moment, as the ace all-rounder leads the competition’s batting with 332 runs, and is coming equal first on the bowling aggregate with 16 wickets.
Spoljaric clobbered an unbeaten 112 last week, and his match-up with several Collegians bowlers tomorrow should be a great contest.
It will be a case of master versus apprentice when Spoljaric takes guard against Tom and Charlie Morrison and Noah Hurley. The young trio will be tasked to show what masters Stuart Anderson and Mark Nicholls have passed on.
Given what often happens when bowling to a player of Spoljaric’s calibre, if he isn’t dismissed early, teams may just give up, so the message to the junior College bowlers may well be to stay patient and enjoy the challenge.
Collegians had a bit of an indifferent day with the bat against Rosedale-Kilmany last week, but was still able to make 140 in pretty treacherous conditions.
With ideal batting weather predicted tomorrow, College skipper Zac Hurley will see no reason why his team can’t get a score up around the 200 mark.
Lachlan Floyd is having a great season with the ball for Bundalaguah, currently sitting third on the league bowling aggregate, and will want to do everything he can to stop Hurley and co from getting 200.
MAFFRA will look to bank another win when it welcomes Rosedale-Kilmany.
The Eagles are sitting pretty at the top of the ladder, with a one game margin on their nearest rival.
A comprehensive win against a highly-rated Stratford last week would have given the team a great deal of confidence, but with that game now history, the focus will be on defeating the Warriors.
The inclusion of Ben Durrant in the side last week for his third game of the season added a completely different dynamic to the team, and with Durrant and Josh Davis, the Eagles have two genuine wicket-taking spinners that turn the ball into right-handers.
David Griffiths has been one of the feel-good stories for Maffra this season – after earning a promotion in mid-November, he has picked up a few wickets and bowled economical spells for the team.
Rosedale-Kilmany was good in patches last week, at one stage having Collegians 4-27.
If the Warriors can cause similar problems for the ladder-leaders tomorrow, they might sense an opportunity to catch Maffra in the unfamiliar position of needing to respond to a major challenge for the first time this season.
Rohan Diamond has done most of the heavy lifting so far in 2020-21, but signs have been encouraging from others.
Bailey Reid took 3-24 last week, while leg spinner Ben Fleming has also shown promise.
LONGFORD will want to give a good account of itself against Sale.
The Lizards have fought the good fight so far this season, and just need some reward for effort – be it in the form of a win or with some strong individual performances.
Their task won’t be easy when they take on the Swans, who have jumped to second on the ladder.
Sale takes a three game winning streak into this match, and looks to be getting all the chess pieces in order before its charge to the finals.
John Mayman returned to the team last week and took the first four wickets, while Ben Howes again got through eight overs without any hassle.
For Longford, Austin Baurer batted for more than an hour last week, and will want someone to partner with him for a similar amount of time to get the Lizards some runs.
BOISDALE-Briagolong and Stratford will clash in a game with plenty on the line.
The match is a genuine danger game for Stratford, which will make it three losses in a row if it gets rolled.
For Boisdale-Briagolong, the match presents another opportunity to prove its credentials, and also keep it well in the hunt for a finals berth.
Naturally, there should be some friendly fire on display at Briagolong, after some former Stratford players left the Redbacks to join the Saints in the off-season.
Veteran leg spinner Sam Anstee seems to have enjoyed more opportunity this season in the absence of Jack Rietschel, and has taken the second-most wickets of any spinner in the competition.
It will be interesting to see how Stratford’s opening batsman Cormac Hassett and Bohdi Walker tackle the new ball tomorrow, as Saints captain Dylan Bolton has so far withheld strike bowler Jonny Lash until first change for most of the season.
Bolton may be working on the theory that Lash would be wasted opening the bowling if batsman are just looking to survive, but given Walker likes to play his shots, Lash could be called on straight away to entice some knicks.