If Buninyong is to stay in touch with the Ballarat Cricket Association first grade top four, Saturday’s clash with Brown Hill bodes as a must-win encounter.
The first grade new-comer has shown it can mix it with the top sides, beating ladder leader Wendouree and going down to second-placed Mt Clear by a run.
But it has since suffered losses to North Ballarat and East Ballarat – two sides vying for similar position on the ladder. As a result, the Bunnies are already two games outside the top four.
Saturday’s hit-out against the Bulls, which will be the first of three twenty20 games, is key given it can earn six points and deprive a top four opponent victory on the one afternoon. Coach Liam Brady is well aware of the importance this clash holds and said it was just a matter of finding the side’s best form on a consistent basis.
“It’s pretty important for us,” Brady said.
“We’ve spoken about a few things that we want to work on, hopefully they can come to fruition on Saturday.
“We’ve been a little bit inconsistent, but what we have shown is that we can match it with the best sides in the competition.
“If we do play our best cricket, we can beat anyone.”
Brady said the main area of improvement was with the bat, but he was confident as the side played more cricket together, ground would be made.
“A lot of our guys haven’t played much cricket together before, so I think we’ll only improve as the season goes on.”
WENDOUREE and Golden Point will lock horns this weekend in what promises to be one of the matches of the round. The Red Caps sit on top of the ladder after five rounds while the Pointies sit a game outside the top four, but found plenty of form in a comfortable win over Brown Hill last week. Heath Pyke will be a big loss for Wendouree, the aggressive wicketkeeper-batsman would have been well-suited to the shorter format but is unavailable, Hugh Knight will be his replacement.
“It’s a big game, it’s still only worth six points. But I think any game where you play a team around you on the ladder is certainly important, and they’re the reigning premiers, so they’re certainly going to be towards to top-end again,” captain Gavin Webb said.
Webb said transitioning to the twenty20 format was no a massive change, while it is a much faster pace of game with the importance of variety and creativity always present, he said the basics remained the same.
“You’ve still got to get in, you’ve still got to pace your innings, you’ve still got to pick your areas – the fundamentals aren’t that different, you’ve just got a shorter timeframe.”
STAR all-rounder Matthew Cape will return to the field for Darley, set to play all three twenty20s.
Cape retired from the longer forms of the game, but will be a key inclusion for the Lions. Skipper Michael Alexander said there was no shying away from what has been a disappointing start to the year, no wins from five outings. But the new format would provide a fresh start and Saturday’s clash with Ballarat-Redan bodes as a winnable game.
“We’ve had an extremely disappointing start to the year...we can now push the reset button,” Alexander said.
“We haven’t been able to put together an acceptable performance at all yet.”
NAPS-SEBAS skipper Dan Scott believes while his group is yet to have a win, improvement is there within the new-look outfit. It will have a tough test against East Ballarat this weekend.
NORTH Ballarat will host Mt Clear under lights on Saturday night. This weekend’s BCA fixture will see five double-headers. All firsts games, aside from North vs Mounties, which begins at 7pm, will start at 4pm. While seconds matches will be a precursor, starting at 12.30pm – the North Ballarat curtain-raiser starting at 3.30pm.