Rivals’ stumbles throw Seagulls in the mix
AS ridiculous as it may have seemed two weeks ago, Barwon Heads has raced back into Bellarine Peninsula Cricket Association finals calculations by doing absolutely nothing.
The reigning premiers have sat idle for the past fortnight thanks to a bye, but climbed two rungs on the ladder after Barrabool and Jan Juc suffered crippling defeats, which hurt their percentages.
The Heads sit in fifth spot on the table, one game behind Collendina with a winnable match against Wallington this round and a season-defining encounter against the Cobras in the final round.
“It’s good, I guess,” acting captain Sam Schaller said. “We just need to look after this week and if we have a big win, we can approach the following game like an early final.”
Schaller has been filling in as skipper for Chris Welsford, who suffered two bouts of pneumonia before Christmas, but was close to playing this weekend.
He believes that if his side can sneak into the four, it can cause some damage given the wealth of its finals experience.
“We’d be going in with two wins and if we did sneak in, we have that experience that other teams would be wary of,” he said.
The Seagulls have struggled to field their strongest team all season, but apart from Welsford they go in at full strength this round for the first time. Batsman Tom Hobbs and allrounder Michael Fallon will slot back into the line-up.
“It’s been a struggle to get everyone available,” Schaller said. “It’s been tough not having the same team week in, week out. But apart from Sammy (Welsford), we’ll have a full squad to choose from.”
Barwon Heads has failed to bat 75 overs all season, something that the club has prided itself on during a golden era that has netted five A grade premierships in eight seasons. Schaller said the problem has been in each individual.
“We expect that the person behind us (in the batting order) is going to do it all for us,” he said. “If everyone just took it upon themselves to be the one to do it, we would have batted much better.”
Schaller is glad that this game against the 10th-placed Wallabies is at his side’s home ground. RT Fuller Oval in Barwon Heads is a high-scoring ground while Wallington Recreation Reserve has a slow outfield and generally produces sub-150 scores.
“Their batting is not their strong point, but their bowling generally restricts teams to under 200,” Schaller said.
“Mick Gill is a quality bowler and they seem to rely on him and (Damien) Biemans so our challenge is to make them turn to their fourth and fifth bowlers and make them do some of the work.”