Stanger fig­ures out fi­nal for­mula

The Weekend Post - - Sport - JA­COB GRAMS ja­

FAR North crick­eters will be feel­ing the pres­sure over the next month as teams jos­tle for a top-three po­si­tion in one of the most closely-fought fin­ishes to a home-and-away sea­son.

Six teams are still in the hunt for the fi­nals with two rounds re­main­ing with just a few runs or a soli­tary wicket sep­a­rat­ing po­si­tions on the lad­der.

One thing out of the con­trol of the com­pet­ing clubs will be the no­to­ri­ously wet weather in this part of the world in Fe­bru­ary-March, mean­ing play­ers will need to go hell for leather when the points are on of­fer.

Norths skip­per Chris Stanger said that while the club could scrape through on one win, the aim was to beat both Bar­ron and Mul­grave in the com­ing rounds to keep their destiny in their own hands.

“We don’t want to leave it down to re­ly­ing on other re­sults to go our way,” he said.

“In say­ing that, we know we’ve got two re­ally tough games com­ing up against Bar­ron, who are a re­ally good side on pa­per, and Mul­grave, who are al­ways the bench­mark.”

Stanger said af­ter earn­ing a home semi-fi­nal last sea­son by a grand to­tal of six runs, ev­ery lit­tle bit would help, recog­nis­ing the need for bats­men, in­clud­ing him­self, to step up.

“We’ve just kind of strug- gled all year for some con­sis­tency and had a lot of peo­ple un­avail­able,” he said.

Grounds­men across the com­pe­ti­tion will be work­ing over­time to get play­ers on the field this week­end, in­clud­ing Grif­fiths Park, with Stanger ex­pect­ing a sticky wicket.

“We’re all just keen to get on the field and play some cricket. We haven’t played much since Christ­mas,” he said.

Rovers play­ers will be watch­ing with bated breath over the next fort­night to see where they end up af­ter Round 13 af­ter an epic fall from grace.

De­spite leading the com­pe­ti­tion, as they have done for much of the sea­son, the club sits in dan­ger of miss­ing out al­to­gether if they fail to get back to win­ning ways in the last round.

Mul­grave are favourites to claim top spot, Bar­ron would need to win both of their games to be in with a shot while Ather­ton, United and Rovers re­main a re­al­is­tic chance in the bat­tle with Norths.

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