Eyes on the sky with rain to possibly hamper Sale-Maffra cricket

Zac Hurley hits a six during his innings of 54 for Collegians against Sale.
Zac Hurley hits a six during his innings of 54 for Collegians against Sale.

RAIN could play havoc in Sale-Maffra cricket on Saturday.

Following showers this week, there is an 80 per cent chance of more rain on Saturday, with up to 10 millimetres predicted to fall in the district.

As water could quickly fill up various outfields and find its way underneath covers, players may be forced to play the waiting game while umpires decide whether to go ahead.

Stratford will probably be the keenest to get two days of play in, as it could be entertaining the thought of an outright win against Longford.

The Redbacks have lost their previous two games by the barest of margins, succumbing to final ball defeats against Rosedale-Kilmany and Boisdale-Briagolong.

Players may be wondering what they have done to deserve such a fate and will be hoping things level out as the finals approach.

Left hander Taylor Tatterson top-scored last round with 86, while the team would have been buoyed by the performance of third grade captain Ben Channing after he was drafted into the side.

Channing, who had been opting to lead young players in the thirds this season, scored an unbeaten 63 and showed he still has plenty to offer in the top grade.

A naturally good striker of the ball who pounces on anything short, the Stratford hierarchy may have a late season role for Channing to play if the man he replaced - wicket-keeper Cormac Hassett - does not recover from a foot injury in time for finals.

Brothers Jack and Tom Wrigglesworth were absent last weekend and should slot straight back in, but their inclusions could also coincide with the departure of opening bowler Jonny Lash, who is again experiencing problems with a troublesome hamstring.

Longford will be eager to atone for its previous round performance, where it was shot out for an embarrassingly low total of 38 against Rosedale-Kilmany. After showing some good signs throughout parts of the season, the Lizards took a huge step backwards last week, as the game saw just 30 overs bowled between the two sides.

With personal pride on the line, Longford will need to face up to the challenges which present themselves tomorrow and put in a better performance.

Some in the Lizards camp may be fearing a long and arduous slog to the end of the season, but if the players don't allow the scoreboard to dictate effort, then they can walk off having won a lot of respect.

English gun Richard Bell will want to post a big score to help the team, while Lachlan Cunningham will be keen to spend a fair bit of time in the middle.

Regardless of which way the coin toss goes on Saturday, the message among the Stratford players may be 'aim to be batting at 3.30pm'.

BUNDALAGUAH will host Rosedale-Kilmany in what could well be a virtual elimination final for the visitor.

The Warriors are in fifth position with the same number of wins as the Bulls in second, however, with an extra loss to its name, Rosedale-Kilmany may need to take points off a team above it in order to burst into the top four.

With Rosedale-Kilmany one of three teams on 38 points, and one of five teams on six wins, the simple mathematics means that five into the final four wont go, leaving this match critical for the Warriors to continue on their quest toward securing a finals berth.

The Bulls are one of the in form teams of the competition and have ascended three spots on the ladder in the space of a week.

Gun all-rounder Steve Spoljaric leads the league in batting and bowling, with close to 500 runs and 30 wickets to his name.

Spoljaric is a proven big game player, and has put in some ridiculous performances over the years in competitions around Melbourne during his career.

For the Warriors, the side may have a 'if we are good enough we will make it mentality as the season nears its climax.

Roesdale-Kilmany's homegrown talent will be on display, with players the likes of Rohan Diamond, Brad Scott and Michael Walters expected to perform well.

COLLEGIANS and Maffra will meet in an equally cutthroat game.

College is two points adrift of Maffra on the table, and the winner of this game could well be given their ticket to the post regular season action in four weeks time.

The two sides will be wanting to get back on the winners' list after suffering losses last weekend, in what should be a tight contest in all departments.

The Eagles have said goodbye to batsman Jack Egan, but should see more of Daniel Bedggood for the rest of the season.

Captain Josh Davis is a class performer and will want to take the game away from a potent College line-up which has the ability to score quickly.

College opener Zac Hurley is one player who likes to play his shots and he will be feeling prepared after scoring a half-century against ladder leader Sale last week.

Nick Grainger is another who likes to smash the ball and will be hoping he can weave some magic much like his famous Hogwarts namesake.

BOISDALE-BRIAGOLONG will take a great deal of confidence into its match against Sale.

The Saints recorded a thrilling victory against Stratford, with players storming the field after the winning runs were hit on the final ball of the day. With victories over Collegians and Stratford this season, Boisdale-Briagolong has proven it still has some quality left in its premiership team from just under 12 months ago.

Toby Leeds was outstanding with the bat last round, scoring an unbeaten 81, and has climbed into the top 10 on the league batting table. Todd Mann will be gunning to strike a few early blows with the ball, along with Liam Hurst who could be called onto bowl a large amount of overs.

Sale will want to get through the game unscathed, and will aim to put the result beyond reasonable doubt by stumps so it can rest easy next week.

Rohan Blandford could be eyeing off a big score, as could Coenie Nel and Nathan Massey.

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