Darley turns its season around as the Lions prepare to face off against North Ballarat

Something has finally clicked in the Darley playing group after narrowly missing victory early in the season.

The Lions have won their past four matches, including three since play resumed after  Christmas in the Ballarat Cricket Association club firsts.

So what can we make of this festive turnaround that has kept the Lions in the finals chase?

“We’ve just been a settled line-up,” Lions captain Matt Cape said. “Unavailabilities and work-related stuff really made it hard for us early in the season.

“We have to win to have an opportunity to say in touch with the competition. We have to get those points.  We’ve got to win the next two matches.”

General interest has centred on the powerhouse showdown between Mount Clear and Brown Hill or the grand final rematch between Wendouree and Napoleons-Sebastopol this round.

But North Ballarat and Darley, both showing promise this season, are hungry to play finals.

With the ladder looking tight, both must win and victory could go either way at Northern Oval.

Darley is chasing 225 runs, a target Cape was reasonably content to tackle.

Fatigue, physical and mental, set in and allowed the Roosters a little leeway on a scorching day one.

Conditions are forecast to be similar tomorrow, which will keep the match relatively fair for both teams.

Roosters captain Bobby Hind said nabbing early wickets was crucial before the heat set in.

Cape and dangerous top-order bat Lachie Herring are prime targets to dislodge.

The Roosters’ seam bowlers, Jason Crosbie, Matt Cations and Ash McCafferty, will be sought to strike early while they are fresh and when the pitch still has a bit of bite.

“I back our bowlers and fielders to get the job done,” Hind said.

“We really need to get into their middle order and hope the pressure gets to them.

“Matt Cape’s in good form and is making a lot of runs. 

“At the end of the day, if they bat all day then they will probably get past us, so we need to stop them early.”

Points and percentage is what counts at the business end of the season. There is no room for error.

melanie.whelan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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