East Ballarat looks to keep season alive, Mounties believe | BCA firsts previews

East Ballarat’s season is on the line when it resumes its chase on Saturday.

The Hawks are chasing 229 runs for victory after storming through the Roosters tail, but it’s good day ended on a sour note, and swung the momentum, North Ballarat dismissing both its openers to see it 2-2 at stumps. Adam Eddy and Ash McCafferty doing the damage.

Cameron Carter (0 not out) and Harry Ganley (2 not out) will return to the crease with the job at hand. The Hawks will particularly be looking to Ganley for a strong performance. Prior to being dismissed for 6 against Golden Point last round, Ganley had averaged 52 over his past five innings across all formats. While Carter came in as the night watchman and will be looking to capitalise on an early opportunity at the crease.

Brad Whittaker

Brad Whittaker

Looking at the bigger picture, if East Ballarat loses, it’s quite simple – it is unable to make the finals. 

This result will also have a huge effect on Darley and Ballarat-Redan.

North Ballarat is 12 points clear of all three teams in that chasing pack. Therefore if the Roosters can restrict the Hawks they will secure its spot in the top four as well as keep its hopes alive for advancing higher within the top four.

With Mt Clear needing a big score and Wendouree only having one more match, second place is still a possibility.

MT CLEAR will embrace the big run chase Golden Point will set for it on Saturday.

The Pointies will have one more over to add to its 292 runs before the Mounties will set-out for an imposing chase.

But skipper Darcy Thomson welcomed the challenge and said there was a good vibe at training during the week, with players relishing the opportunity to attack the chase head-on.

Thomson felt there was plenty of talent in its top six, yet we have not seen it regularly enough this season. He was hoping this week would be the week it all comes together in what would be a huge victory in the context of the season, and Golden Point’s first loss.

“I think we’re a chance,” Thomson said.

“We’ve got some top quality bats in our top six and they haven’t quite fulfilled their potential this season.

“I’m hoping this week is the week we click.”

If it can do so, it will hold-off a hungry fourth-placed North Ballarat that is eager to advance further up the ladder.

While the Pointies will be feeling confident it can defend that total.

After a quality batting display it is once again in the box seat to claim what would be a seventh victory this season.

The Golden Point attack has proven difficult to get away and has struck early and often.

DARLEY will be looking to find form with the bat in order to chase down Ballarat-Redan’s 149 runs.

The Lions have struggled to build consistent partnerships throughout the season. Skipper Michael Alexander saying it was not a matter of capability, rather mental application to stay in and make a big score and not lapse between 10 and 30.

“It’s hard to put a finger on one thing,” Alexander said.

“The list has got the potential to be really good with the bat.

“We’ve struggled for momentum and partnerships for a lot of this season.”

It will resume at 0-15 after surviving a tricky 14-over period at the end of day one.

Alexander (7 not out) and fellow opener Lachy Herring (7 not out) will be looking to set the tone and build a platform for victory.

Darley requires victory to keep its finals hopes alive.

While victory against The Combine is step one, it will also have an eye on the North Ballarat versus East Ballarat match. If the Roosters are successful in bowling out the Hawks cheaply, the final four is locked away.

Same applies to Ballarat-Redan, who will be looking to storm through the Lions batting order.

It is on the same points as Darley and East Ballarat as the three look to stay in the finals hunt.

Early wickets will be the order of the day for Ballarat-Redan.

WENDOUREE is in a commanding position against Brown Hill after making 269 runs on the opening day of its round 11 clash.

Matt Smith was the highlight, and perhaps lowlight, of the day as he raced his way to 97 – piling on important latter-over runs.

However, he ran out of time for what would have been a memorable century, Wendouree ending its 80 overs with Smith stranded on 97 from 84 balls.

Nonetheless, his explosive innings was typically eye-catching.

If Brown Hill is to track down the score, it will have to pave new ground for this season.

The Bulls have not surpassed 250 runs in an innings as yet this season, with its best performance coming against North Ballarat in round 2 – 247 runs.

While its next highest score is 235, against East Ballarat in round 5. The two common threads in those season-high scores have been big scores from a Knowles.

It was a century in round 2 from Ryan and 98 from Tm against the Hawks.

No doubt if Brown Hill is to reel in the total, it will require an even spread of contributions, building strong partnerships throughout the order.

This will be a good test for the young Bulls while it is an opportunity for the Red Caps to consolidate in the top two.