Bat­tle tight­ens at top

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Hor­sham Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion fi­nals in­trigue ap­pears set to con­tinue to the death knock with teams grap­pling for a swing­ing fourth spot on the lad­der.

Jung Tigers and La­harum are trad­ing blows at Hor­sham City Oval as part of the arm-wres­tle and de­spite some water to flow un­der the bridge it might be the Tigers that have the early ad­van­tage.

Teams are half­way through the sec­ond-last home-and-away game of the sea­son, with La­harum sit­ting fourth and hold­ing a handy seven-point lead on the Tigers.

But a La­harum first-in­nings loss to the Tigers in the two-day fix­ture would re­duce the mar­gin to one point.

The Tigers would then shape up in their fi­nal pre­lim­i­nary game against bot­tom side Black­heath-dim­boola and La­harum would meet Hor­sham Saints in what might be a do-or-die en­counter.

As it stands, this week­end the Tigers will re­sume a 168-run chase for vic­tory over La­harum, need­ing only 106 more runs with nine wick­ets in hand.

Plenty rests on the shoul­ders of La­harum all-rounder Dan Mibus, who has al­ready re­moved the dan­ger­ous An­gus Adams, and will re­sume pleas­antries with the ball with the likes of Mal Adams, Josh Ma­honey and Matt Farr.

Stand­ing in La­harum’s way are vet­eran Marty Knight, 30, and hard-hit­ting Brett Jensz, 12, who are un­beaten at the crease with the likes of Tyler Neville, David Puls and Steve and Sam Leith to come.

The Tigers bowled their way into a com­mand­ing po­si­tion last week, cour­tesy of a five-wicket haul to the tire­less Puls.

Puls, who must surely rank some­where among the all-time high­est wicket-tak­ers in the com­pe­ti­tion, cap­tured 5-48 while leg-spinner Adams col­lected 4-24.

An­other vet­eran, Jeremy Tyler, up from C Grade, top-scored for La­harum with 39, Daniel Grif­fiths made 28 and a hand­ful of oth­ers made starts.

While fi­nals spec­u­la­tion sur­rounded what was hap­pen­ing at Hor­sham City Oval, runs flowed aplenty in other games at Dim­boola and Hor­sham Sun­ny­side.

Hor­sham Saints, dip­ping their toe in the premier­ship race, ran into a Homers bat­ting list in­tent on mak­ing the Saints’ charge as tough as pos­si­ble.

The Pi­geons made 6-276, Sandy Hodge clip­ping 88 at the top of the or­der and Chris Hop­per down the list mak­ing 80 in less than half the balls of his open­ing team-mate.

Jarred Combe also made 54 in the mid­dle or­der, while Tony Cac­caviello and Matt Combe toiled for much of the day with the ball for the Saints.

Runs also came at a hefty clip at Dim­boola, where Ryan Metel­mann pounced on an op­por­tu­nity to hit a cen­tury and be­come the toast of Ru­pa­nyup-minyip.

Opener Metel­mann made 111 as the Blue Pan­thers el­e­vated their score to 8-291 against Black­heath-dim­boola, de­spite miss­ing run-mak­ing Travis Hair.

Daniel Schaper also came tan­ta­lis­ingly close to reach­ing three fig­ures, but like Metel­mann, was run out, six runs short of the mark.

Black­heath-dim­boola used 10 bowlers in a col­lec­tive ef­fort to quell the vis­i­tors’ on­slaught.

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