Stanger figures out final formula
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.