Hor­sham cricket crunch time

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Ei­ther win or hope for the best! That’s the sce­nario fac­ing La­harum as Hor­sham Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion’s race for the fi­nals enters the fi­nal straight.

The wash-up as teams en­ter the last home-and-away round of the sea­son is that fourth­placed La­harum is only one point ahead of Jung Tigers.

It means La­harum, to play in the fi­nals, must beat third­placed Hor­sham Saints to give it­self ev­ery chance of hold­ing its ground.

The prob­lem for La­harum is that Jung Tigers, which beat the Moun­tain Men last game to tighten up the fi­nals equa­tion, are hot favourites to over­come win­less Black­heath-dim­boola.

Adding to the in­trigue is that the Tigers know that a first-in­nings win over the Bulls might not be enough and would be plot­ting a sec­ond-in­nings re­sult if pos­si­ble. Of course stand­ing in the way of the plans of both La­harum and Jung Tigers are their op­po­nents.

Hor­sham Saints won’t be keen to en­ter the fi­nals on the end of a loss and Black­heathDim­boola is sure to be keen to fin­ish a dis­ap­point­ing sea­son with a rare win.

La­harum meets the Saints in the two-day round deep in en­emy ter­ri­tory at Cough­lin Park and will need to find a way of hit­ting a score be­yond the mile­stone 200-run mark.

La­harum’s 167 at Hor­sham City Oval last game was never enough, es­pe­cially af­ter win­ning the toss. It needs the likes of Josh Ma­honey, Todd Hey­nen, Daniel Grif­fiths and George Mac­duff to ce­ment the foun­da­tions for Damien Bun­worth and Ben Peucker in the mid­dle or­der.

It also needs to strike early with the ball and Dan Mibus, Adams, Ma­honey, Bun­worth and John Doyle, who cap­tured 4-23, must all bowl well.

The Saints lost to top team Homers last game, but the con­test was a rip­per, with first drop Matt Combe hit­ting 145 and guid­ing his team to within 18 runs of the Pi­geons’ tar­get.

Combe, who iron­i­cally lost his wicket last week to brother Jarred, will be cherry ripe to con­tinue his form along­side Corey and Austin Smith and Stu­art Mcguckin.

Just­tin Combe would be an im­por­tant in­clu­sion to the team if avail­able and fel­low all-rounder Tony Cac­caviello looms as a crit­i­cal player in the mid­dle or­der.

Matt Combe and Cac­caviello are also the pri­mary dan­ger men with the ball.

At Hor­sham City Oval, mean­while, Jung Tigers will be look­ing for more bats­men to have a greater in­flu­ence on their con­test against the Bulls.

It was vet­eran Marty Knight, 76, who steered the Tigers across the line last week, while Brett Jensz hit 34.

A few other play­ers had starts but their con­tri­bu­tion was rel­a­tively mi­nor.

The Tigers will ei­ther try to hit the Bulls into sub­mis­sion or weave through their bat­ting list with a com­bi­na­tion of David Puls-led medium pace and spin twins Jake Mclean and An­gus Adams.

Black­heath-dim­boola has a chance to have a say on who plays in the fi­nals and will not have en­joyed los­ing out­right af­ter fol­low­ing on to Ru­pa­nyup­minyip last week. The Bulls’ list ap­pears thin but the team is likely to have taken note of the ap­proach of vet­eran Mick Mcgough last week.

A Grade cricket drama will also un­fold at Hor­sham Sun­ny­side where arch ri­vals Ru­pa­nyup-minyip and Homers play in a sig­nif­i­cant fi­nals pre­view. A col­lec­tion of top-notch play­ers will touch gloves in this en­counter with psy­chol­ogy the big­gest prize up for grabs.

It is no sur­prise that all­rounder Jarred Combe, who cap­tured 5-70 for Homers last week, has hit his straps with the ap­proach of fi­nals.

CAUGHT: La­harum fielder Jesse Brown throws him­self back­wards to catch a Marty Knight sky-ball at Hor­sham City Oval on Satur­day. Knight top-scored for the Tigers. Pic­ture: PAUL CARRACHER

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