Mt Clear is in the fortunate position of having first innings points sown up entering day two in its clash with North Ballarat.
But there is still some decisions to be made for the Mounties.
Inform skipper Darcy Thomson, who took 7-15 last week, said ideally his side would be able to knock over the Roosters once again and earn outright victory, but he was mindful of staying fresh for Sunday’s important one-day clash with East Ballarat.
The Hawks are hot on the heels of Mt Clear, currently six points behind the fourth-placed Mounties.
Thomson said the swing-friendly pink ball was proving difficult, particularly as the match enters the evening.
Thomson said he would look to give Steve Nicholson (41 not out) and Matt Ward (21 not out) at least 20 overs to add to the Mounties 45-run lead, when they resume at 3-116.
“It could set us up nicely – it’s an important weekend,” Thomson said.
“(But) we want to be fresh for the one-dayer.”
In further positive news for Mt Clear, dynamic batsmen Curtis Townrow will return for Sunday’s one-day fixture.
For North Ballarat, Saturday’s match is its only game over the weekend. The Roosters will be looking to find some form and have a vested interest in denying Mt Clear outright victory.
LAST year’s post-Christmas performance is fresh in the minds of the Golden Point players that endured it.
After turning into the break on top of the ladder, the Pointies did not win a match after Christmas and fell out of the top four.
While this has not been something readily spoken about 12 months on, skipper Josh White knows it is something that does not need to be brought to the attention.
“We certainly remember it,” White said.
Golden Point is in strong position against Brown Hill with 292 runs on the board as the Bulls step out to bat on Saturday.
Golden Point, which sits third on the ladder, will also play East Ballarat in a one-dayer on Sunday.
White said this weekend provided a huge opportunity for the group to potentially cement itself in the top four.
It is already nine points clear of fifth-placed East Ballarat, but this weekend offers a chance to put a significant gap on its rivals and work its way up the ladder.
“It’d be nice to have a good couple of wins.
“It would almost cement our spot.”
It would be a tall order for Brown Hill to chase down the total against a quality Pointies attack, but combining for a number of solid partnerships will be crucial to the task.
It will then prepare for Sunday’s one-day clash against Ballarat-Redan.
WENDOUREE and East Ballarat will play-out their round 9 fixture as a one-dayer on Saturday after last week’s first day was called off due to a wet wicket.
Red Caps skipper Gavin Webb said there was not much that could be done about last week and the focus was firmly on delivering in what is a big match for the reigning premiers.
The Hawks are eager to make inroads to the top four and victory over the second-placed Wendouree would be a perfect start to a weekend that also includes a one-day match against Golden Point on Sunday.
Webb said it was crucial to get the points on Saturday and expected a hungry Hawks outfit.
Wendouree may be sitting nicely on the ladder at the moment, but Webb was wary of the importance of its remaining matches given it only has two more matches left – such is the way the fixture has fallen.
“Every game is important but if we win this one we’re very close to locking in a top four spot,” Webb said.
“We don’t have many more opportunities to play after this one.
“They’ll come out pretty hard given they’ll need to beat us, and we’ll just try and stick to what we’ve been doing.”
Webb said East Ballarat had plenty of match-winners in its side and it was important it blanketed their influence.
BALLARAT-REDAN produced its most consistent batting display of the season last weekend, further proof of its development.
The Combine first XI is largely made up of youngsters, but they are showing plenty of signs of improvement. in the early stages of the season. The main area for work was the batting and last week’s 9-285 against Napoleons-Sebastopol was extremely encouraging.
Not only the overall score, but the fact there were a number of contributors. Six players made more than 20 runs, with young gun Jack Riding going on to top score with 82 – continuing his run of good form.
Captain Jayden Hayes was confident of defending the total, which would give it its second win of the season.
“If they chase that down they’ve either batted very well, or we’ve bowled poorly,” Hayes said.
The weekend could prove fruitful for The Combine if all goes to plan given Sunday’s match-up with Brown Hill provides another opportunity for victory. Ballarat-Redan’s only win this season came against Brown Hill and it will be hoping to make it a two-from-two weekend.
For Napoleons-Sebastopol, much of its troubles this season have stemmed from the bat. In last round’s loss to East Ballarat, it fell short, but had eight players reach double figures, yet only one went beyond 30 – it will be hoping for more this week.