Pre-fi­nals testers in Hor­sham games

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY DEAN LAW­SON

In­ten­sity is set to lift markedly in Hor­sham Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion as teams en­ter the fi­nal home-and-away round be­fore fi­nals.

Cricket fans will gain in­sight into the form of teams pre­par­ing for the sea­son play-offs, with top play­ing sec­ond and third play­ing fourth in games start­ing on Satur­day.

An old say­ing is that more than 90 per­cent of cricket is played be­tween the ears and all sorts of psy­cho­log­i­cal ad­van­tages are up for grabs in the next fort­night.

Cap­tur­ing much of the pre-fi­nals in­ter­est will be a clash be­tween Homers and their fierce con­tem­po­rary ri­val Ru­pa­nyupMinyip at Hor­sham Sun­ny­side oval.

Homers have al­most been coast­ing to­wards the sea­son end, pulling out the big per­for­mances when needed, while Ru­pa­nyup-minyip had to blud­geon its way back onto the win­ners list last game, cour­tesy of the blade of Paul Mor­gan.

Homers are flag favourites and there­fore also favourites on their home turf to beat the Blue Pan­thers.

A crush­ing win by the Pi­geons, who ap­pear to have all bowl­ing and bat­ting bases cov­ered, would al­most place them on a seem­ingly im­mov­able pedestal.

The Homers list is lit­tered with all-rounders from Si­mon and Chris Hop­per and Lachie Jones with their fin­ger spin to Jarred Combe with the new ball.

Then there’s Sandy Hodge at the top of the or­der, Mar­cus Wil­liamson and Adam At­wood hit­ting form with the bat and Ed­die Landwehr bowl­ing a tight left-arm line.

The Pi­geons were too good for Jung Tigers last week, Si­mon Hop­per hit­ting a sec­ondin­nings ton as the side at­tempted a points haul while us­ing a first-in­nings win to con­sol­i­date form.

At the same time, Ru­pa­nyup-minyip can­tered to vic­tory over La­harum at Minyip, its 339 far too many for the Moun­tain Men to chase.

In the end, de­spite a 59 from Ben Peucker and 38 to Dan Mibus, the vis­i­tors were all out for 144, Ryan Metel­mann the de­stroyer with 4-51 and Jonty Funcke snar­ing 3-24.

Will vet­eran Paul Mor­gan be able to re­peat his dev­as­tated touch with the bat against Homers?

Or will it be the likes of Dan Clark, Matt Downer, Clint Mid­g­ley, Daniel Schaper or wild­card Travis Hair who take it up to the Pi­geons? Per­haps Leigh Funcke or Glenn Mor­gan?

Des­per­ate

An­other fas­ci­nat­ing clash will emerge be­tween Jung Tigers and Hor­sham Saints with both sides des­per­ate to find win­ning form at Hor­sham City Oval be­fore the fi­nals.

The Tigers came a gutzer against Homers but pro­vided a glimpse of their long bat­ting list with a solid sec­ond-in­nings knock headed by leg-spin­ning all-rounder An­gus Adams. Adams made an un­beaten cen­tury af­ter tak­ing three wick­ets and with Brett Jensz, 28 and 64, in good touch, Conor Law­son, Sam Leith, Steve Leith, Tyler Neville and Rowan Scott, if avail­able, need to make runs when it counts.

The Tigers still rely too heav­ily on David Puls with the ball but have emerg­ing left-arm tal­ent in Josh Leith and Tyler Puls.

Hor­sham Saints, like the Tigers, need to spend more time bat­ting to make a com­pet­i­tive score and came un­stuck against a will­ing Black­heathdim­boola.

The Saints tried to de­fend 121 against a de­ter­mined Bulls bat­ting side, which fin­ished the game with 9-243, a va­ri­ety of bats­men en­joy­ing time in the mid­dle.

All­rounder Matt Combe re­mains the back­bone of the Saints with bat and ball, his brother Just­tin and per­haps fel­low opener Mitch Martin the other keys with the bat at the top of the oder.

The Saints bowl­ing unit ap­pears rel­a­tively lean with­out the new-ball sting of Tony Cac­caviello, although they have con­sid­er­able va­ri­ety at their dis­posal with Zac Hamer­ston, Clint King and Jon Car­roll ca­pa­ble of ex­tract­ing a wicket or three.

This game should be a rip­per with both sides keen for suc­cess.

But the good games are far from lim­ited to the fi­nal­ists with Black­heath-dim­boola and La­harum also headed for an in­trigu­ing clash at Dim­boola.

La­harum was fly­ing in the sec­ond half of the sea­son be­fore run­ning into Mor­gan last game, while Black­heath-dim­boola broke through for a hard­earned win against the Saints.

The Bulls had El­liot Braith­waite, who top-scored last game with 46, Harry Young, 36, Luke Werner, 32, Tim Mc­gough, 28, Dar­ren Jones, 27, and Lachie Watts, 25, en­joy­ing the runs against the Saints. But they will have to back up strongly against a vis­it­ing side boast­ing the power of Peucker, form of Mibus and Daniel Grif­fiths, and oth­ers such as Josh Ma­honey, Mal Adams and Brad Brother­ton.

Damien Bun­worth might be the key for the vis­i­tors if he’s fit to play.

Grampians

CHIEF DE­STROYER: Ru­pa­nyup-minyip bowler Ryan Metel­mann was a key player in his side’s con­vinc­ing win over La­harum fin­ish­ing with fig­ures of 4-51. This week: Two-day round, Jung Tigers v Hor­sham Saints at Hor­sham City Oval, Black­heath-dim­boola v La­harum...

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