PUR­PLE TEST

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - SPORT - By JAMIE LOWE

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.

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