Mt Clear will be looking for strong response against Ballarat-Redan this week after a disappointing display against Wendouree last Saturday.
Captain Darcy Thomson said it was important his side put in a good performance to register its first victory of the season.
“We’re looking to bounce back this week,“ Thomson said.
After falling to 4-19 last week, Thomson put the heat on the Mounties top-order, saying the focus was to have one of the top six batsmen at the crease in the latter stages of the innings. While he felt his side could use its experience to its advantage against a youthful Ballarat-Redan outfit.
The Combine had the bye last week and sits below Mt Clear on the ladder – both having one loss next to their name.
17-year-old Jack Thorton will make his firsts debut.
The wicket-keeper/batsmen made 48 runs in the seconds last week and captain Jayden Hayes said his prowess with the bat was appealing and he now had a great opportunity to cement his spot in the firsts.
“He won’t be out of place,” Hayes said.
Hayes said it was not ideal to play round one and then have a bye, but that was the nature of the nine-team competition. The bye gave a few players a chance to play seconds while others looked to stay fresh.
THE PREMIERS of the past two seasons lock horns this Saturday.
Reigning premiers Wendouree have made an impressive start to its title defence with two wins from two outings.
The victories have not been without their challenges, but on both occasions the Red Caps have lifted when required. Adding to the valuable early wins is the calibre of opponent, Darley and Mt Clear have been the two scalps and both promise to feature at the pointy end of the season.
The testing start to the season continues this week as it faces Golden Point.
Captain Gavin Webb expected another fierce challenge against a side likely to be among the top four.
Webb said it was a “12-point game”.
“I think they’re going to be right up there,” Webb said.
“We’d rather have it that way (playing the top teams early).”
All-rounder Jack Peters comes into the side for the unlucky Stephen Segrave while recruit John Butler is still unavailable.
Golden Point missed the finals in its premiership defence, but this season it looks to have a renewed hunger to return to the finals and captain Josh White has spoken of the desire to make-up for what was a disappointing post-Christmas display last season.
It’s finals bid will receive a huge boost on Saturday as it unveils its two recruits – Manjula De Zoysa and Tharanga Fernando.
NAPOLEONS-SEBASTOPOL captain Matthew Ringin is demanding his side brings the right mindset to this week’s clash with Brown Hill as it searches for its first victory.
Naps-Sebas has lost their opening two matches, their work with the bat proving their undoing with scores of 93 and 69.
Ringin felt it was not a matter of attending to technical flaws, rather bringing a “desire to be involved” for the full 80 overs.
“It’s definitely a mindset thing, they have the ability it’s just about having the mindset,” Ringin said.
“We just have to concentrate on winning…everyone’s keen to make-up for a couple of bad losses.”
While the 2016-17 finalists have made a poor start to the season, Ringin said the morale around the group was still high and committed to finding its best form.
“There’s a feeling of determination around the group.”
Napoleons-Sebastopol has kept the faith in the current batting squad, resisting the temptation to bring in top-order recruit Anthony Taylor while Simon Ringin made an unbeaten 77 and 107 in the seconds.
Meanwhile, Brown Hill put up a strong fight against North Ballarat last week, falling 37 runs short, and at times looked to be in a winning position. The Bulls may be young, but Ringin was wary that any team on any given day could come up trumps in this competition.
DARLEY’S star batsmen Lachlan Herring is nearing a return to first grade cricket.
Herring has been battling osteitis pubis with the club wary of not pushing him to hard, such is the nature of the notoriously stubborn injury.
While it is hoped Sri Lankan recruits Anurudda Rajapaksha and Roshan Anuruddha will be available for Darley’s next match, which will be round five.
Captain Michael Alexander said Herring would be a “massive” inclusion to the line-up.
The Lions are coming off a unique victory, successfully defending 96 runs. Napoleons proving a difficult place to score runs and equally a difficult place to gauge form.
Alexander said it was a great bowling performance, but he was just relieved to get the win.
“It’s hard to take much away from a match like that,” Alexander said.
“We’re happy to get away with a win.”
Both teams are 1-1 after two rounds, both having wins over Napoleons-Sebastopol.
East Ballarat fell short of Golden Point last week, losing wickets on a consistent basis before reaching three figures – putting the Hawks behind the pace.
On last season’s measure and the early form, both sides look to be in finals contention and a valuable six points awaits this round’s winner.