MOUNTIES captain Nathan Yates is a key target in Brown Hill’s eyes.
Yates’ plan is simple – for his team to bat as long as it can at Eastern Oval tomorrow.
This starts with Yates and dangerous middle-order bat Hayden Cartledge, who has a dangerous record of boosting the tally deep in the innings – as he proved, coming in at number eight on day one and firing off 55 runs.
Yates and Cartledge will resume the second innings of this Ballarat Cricket Association club firsts final with the Mounties at 7-37 and holding a 134-run lead.
Brown Hill captain Jason Knowles says his bowlers are well rested in the five days off between play.
The Bulls know if they can break Yates and Cartledge, they can break the Mounties and, should they do so early, have a reasonable chase.
“Everyone is good to go. Our bowlers are well-rested up and keen to get those last three (Mounties) wickets,” Knowles said.
Headline quick Shane Harwood has taken three wickets – he got his first taste on day two – but so far Matt McMahon has dominated the Bulls’ attack.
McMahon has collected nine wickets, including six in the first innings.
But, the Bulls still need to bat – and bat well – to hunt down the title they crave. This means a big improvement at the crease after mustering up a meagre 87-run first innings’ score.
“After that performance, I’m still pretty confident in our batting line-up. I don’t think we’ll do that again,” Knowles said.
“We can’t look too far ahead yet. We’ve first got to get these wickets and see what runs we’ll have to get.”
However, the Mounties are far from preparing their trophy cabinet either.
A seaming wicket played havoc with both teams last weekend.
Seventeen wickets fell on day two, and that followed the day one drama in which the Mounties had been 5-26 before Dan Hopkinson (56 runs) and Hayden Cartledge (55) revived the order.
The Mounties could take confidence from dismissing the Bulls so cheaply to start day two proceedings.
Yates said confidence came from what the Mounties had built all year.
“We realise the game is still in front of us. We’re in a reasonable position heading into the second weekend,” Yates said.
“We just want to bat as long as we can on Saturday ... our bowling has been strong all year and we’re confident we can defend any score we put up.”