FRESH from two weeks’ rest, Trafalgar will welcome Yallourn North to Trafalgar Recreation Reserve with less than a point separating the two sides on the Central Gippsland cricket ladder.
The visitors need to put on a solid showing after a chastening defeat to cellar-dwellers Moe last round, and a loss here could see them slip from third place to fifth.
The side’s pace attack of Lucas Fry, Rowan Kelly and Glenn Sheekey, with left-arm spinner Jeremy Butler as backup, have routinely got the job done, however, the batting is a house of cards, with the Bombers all-too reliant on Josh Keyhoe, Aidan Vesty and skipper Pat Spiteri.
Evan Sheekey has made regular contributions without going on to post a big score, while wicketkeeper Callum Polo was encouraging last week and will be looking to embark on a run of good form.
Trafalgar captain Rhys Holdsworth is the side’s most important batsman, alongside the pyrotechnics of James Blaser and the calm, dour Aiden George.
Jackson Noonan and Todd Mann are one of the best opening bowling combinations in the league but if Yallourn North can see those two off and attack the change bowlers they should be able to post a decent score.
A win against a very poor Yallourn North last round will give the young Lions a major confidence boost however, ladder-leaders and flag favourites Mirboo North should give them a reality check this round.
Andrew Philip is the league’s best bat and can guide his team to a competitive score even with minimal assistance.
Conversely Mirboo North has batting depth with Shane Peters, Rob Phoenix, Adam Mates and Jesse Giardina followed by Jed Alexander, Damien Turner and Cameron Le Page.
Moe bowlers Robert Blunt, Nick Clarke, Kayne O’Connell and Ryan Sim could be in for a tough examination.
Tasked with keeping Philip under the Tigers’ thumb with be the pace duo of Josh Taylor and Liam Smit, backed up by Steve Rogers and Ben Williams.
The spin trio of Dale Banks, Rob Phoenix and Connor Williams is no easy task to negotiate either.
A one-run win last round was a massive boost for Morwell and skipper Rory Hare will be mindful of the need to bury Jeeralang-Boolarra early on in the piece.
Morwell boasts Craig Giddens, Riyaz Pathan, Glenn Bone and Mark Cukier in addition to Hare, but the Panthers have danger men of their own.
Stan Urbanic, Tim Laaks and Craig Blackberry are all better bats than they have shown so far, while brothers Ben and Luke Heath are the real threat to the Tigers bowlers, as is the dynamic Dermott Leys.