Finals frame still wide open



THE final round of the Neilson Builders Cup promises bountiful excitement as four teams vie for the last spot in Traralgon and district cricket’s top four.

Gormandale heads the table on 66 points, followed by Ex Students in second with 54.

Glengarry is third on 42, Centrals fourth on 39, Raiders fifth on 38 and Churchill sixth on 38.

The permutations could see any of these sides skip into the finals frame.

Fourth-placed Centrals has the bye and needs Raiders and Churchill to lose in order to hold on to its spot.

Rovers v Glengarry

IN a strange twist this game takes on the most significance of the round.

Third-placed Glengarry must win against Rovers to maintain its hold on the top four.

Glengarry has played well all year but put in its worst performance in the field last week when it was unable to defend 264 against Gormandale.

While out of finals contention, the rapidly improving Rovers will be keen to leave a mark on the contenders and have an influence on the end of season standings.

Traralgon West v Raiders

RAIDERS can make certain of a spot in the four with an outright over the struggling Traralgon West.

If they gain maximum points, and Glengarry loses, Raiders can finish as high as third.

Traralgon West will be desperate to avoid consecutive outright losses, but Brad Knowles, Liam Maynard and Chris Stanlake will not make that task easy.

Ex Students v Toongabbie

THE Sharks will use this game as a finals warm up as they cannot be shifted from second spot.

Lee Stockdale’s men are building momentum at the right time and seem to be peaking for a tilt at defending the title.

Stockdale himself has had another outstanding year and, along with Rob Voss, Michael Warne and Greg Munro, holds the key for the Sharks.

The Rams will bow out either way to end a year that promised so much.

Matt Golding has been an outstanding recruit and will again be called upon to make a bulk of the runs.

Imperials v Churchill

THIS is a huge game for Churchill as it attempts to sneak back into the four.

Following the bye last week the Cobras have a big job ahead.

If Churchill wins and Glengarry lose, the Cobras will make the cut, however if the Magpies win then Churchill needs an outright and for Raiders to miss out on maximum points.

Ben Kearns has had a breakthrough year and will win the league batting award, but must step up again this week.

Alex Butle, Scott Aitken and Nick Scammell will lead the charge as Imperials look to go out in style.

CATS v Gormandale

GORMANDALE cannot lose top spot and CATS cannot make finals in what shapes as little more than a practice run.

Al Jenkin became the first 17 year-old to score back-to-back TDCA centuries and has been in such good form that Adrian Burgiel’s absence last week was barely noticed.

CATS has had a forgettable season and, after being touted as potential top four side, will want to finish the year positively.

Barney Webber always plays well against Gormandale but the Tigers should be too strong.