TWO-day cricket begins in Central Gippsland this Sunday with the replay of last year’s EnergyAustralia Yallourn Cup, grand finalists Latrobe and the reigning premiers Moe, at Peter Siddle Oval.
After a slow start to the season the Lions are getting back to full strength and will test a vastly improved Latrobe outfit. Last week Moe had the bye but won its previous two matches against Newborough Bulldogs and Mirboo North. Andrew Philip made a welcome return to form and Rob Phoenix is the next top order bat to start firing.
Opener Dale Walshe has made two 60s in his last two outings and will be anxious to get his side away to another good start.
Matt Clarke needs one wicket to enter the CGCA 1000 club and six to reach 900 first grade scalps.
Chris Johnson is expected to be back in the seniors and will share the attack with Sam Price.
Brendon Evans is a doubtful starter this week for the Sharks with a suspected Achilles injury and may be missing for a few weeks.
The in-form Mitchell Cowell was unavailable last week and looks the obvious replacement.
Kaushik Aphale is carrying a back injury but should be fit enough this important game.
Now that Anthony Bloomfield has scored runs he will be a worry for the Moe bowlers, who will still remember his devastating century a couple of seasons back.
Last year’s third and fourth place-getters Morwell and Mirboo North look set for an epic clash in a game which could go down to late on the second day.
Mirboo North is still reeling from its shock loss last week and need to get its act together before its finals chances disappear. Liam Smit was the best of the Mirboo North attack and they may have Dylan Leys available this week.
The Tigers’ batting has been scratchy and proven run getters like Brett Pedlow, Shane Peters and Ben Heath need to show more consistency.
Morwell’s opening attack is a worry and has gifted plenty of extras in recent weeks.
Tim Dow found his line and length after a poor first spell and bowled extremely well to snag four wickets last week.
Blake Mills will be back after his farewell junior tenpin bowling tournament last week and he has been Morwell’s best bat this season.
Mark Cukier seems to bat better in the middle order and Craig Giddens is capable of making a wayward attack pay.
Newborough Bulldogs will hope they can beat Trafalgar after their great win against Mirboo North to stay in touch with the top four.
Their fielding last week was excellent which gave the bowlers a lot of confidence.
Rob Blunt performed well at senior level against Mirboo North and has added another option for Aiden Vesty.
The Ships disappointed against Morwell and must lift their batting if they are to win matches.
After two lovely cover drives Rhys Holdsworth did not pick the slower ball and spooned up an easy catch.
With two innings under his belt he will make it hard for the Bulldogs bowlers if he gets away to a good start.
Daniel Heathcote, Jackson Noonan and Klay Butler are getting wickets and could trouble the Bulldog bats.
Yallourn North has the bye.
There is no second and third grade cricket this week due to the Premier League Twenty20 at Morwell on Saturday.
Premier cricketer on the way
HAZELWOOD North has Hawthorn Premier cricketer Jesse McCartney coming to Northern Reserve, Morwell this Sunday for a coaching and training clinic between 1pm and 3pm. Club president Cheryl Briggs said it was a great opportunity for coaches and parents.
She said if this clinic was well attended the club may get more support from the Central Gippsland Cricket Association for other junior development opportunities.
For more information phone Cheryl Briggs on
0400 096 754.