The Deni Rhinos face their biggest test of the year when they travel to take on an undefeated Nathalia in a one-day game tomorrow.
The Purples have been the measuring stick of the Murray Valley Cricket Association for the past three seasons, claiming a three-peat premiership win in March this year.
The Rhinos have had a tremendous start to their season, with a 5-1 record and on a winning streak of four wins.
Rhinos coach John Arthur is confident his side can ride the wave of momentum and take down the juggernaut that is Nathalia tomorrow.
‘‘We’re in a much better position than last season,’’ he said.
‘‘We have wins under our belt and our batting, bowling and fielding has been at a high level.
‘‘We’ve become a much more aggressive side when running between the wickets and have consistently been able to score around the 200 mark.
‘‘But Nathalia are a side full of champions, so we will have to continue to work harder.’’
Arthur expects that most if not all of his players will be available for the big clash.
If the Rhinos were to win the toss, the coach believes they’ll choose to bat first.
‘‘Good sides generally have good wickets so I’d imagine we’d want to bat first,’’ Arthur said.
‘‘We need to at least have two of our top six batsmen score over 50 runs to challenge Nathalia.’’
The Rhinos’ form has been impressive, with Andrew Hogan leading the charge with the bat and ball.
The right arm strike bowler has taken 17 wickets from six games, bowling with an economy rate of 2.5 runs an over.
Last week, Hogan scored an impressive 60 not out, with import Zeniffe Fowler scoring a quickfire 45 to also find form with the bat in just his second game with the club.
‘‘Hoges (Hogan) has been massive for us,’’ Arthur said.
‘‘With him in great form we haven’t had to have Brad Todd, who I rate as one of the better bowlers in the competition, bowl the past two games.
‘‘We’ll definitely need Toddy in the bowling attack this week though.
‘‘I think Hoges would agree with me when I say that he wouldn’t be bowling as well without the exceptional fielding efforts from the rest of the side.’’
Leading the charge for Nathalia will be Ash Quinn and Luke Carter, with Carter scoring 291 runs this season and Quinn taking 14 wickets at an economy rate of three runs an over.
The Rhinos’ Division One side will host Berrigan in a 40 over game at Memorial Park tomorrow.
In other Rhinos action, the Under 14s side will travel to take on Jerilderie to play the first day of their two-day game tomorrow morning.
Rhinos coach John Arthur is still looking for more players to sign up for the MVCA 2017/18 season.
If you want to get involved in cricket then contact John on 0427 814 100.