Titanic Tiger tussle

After conquering almost everything that has come before it, Mirboo North will have an opportunity to even the score against the only foe to evade its wrath so far when it faces Morwell on Saturday.

Central Gippsland cricket returns from its two week hiatus with the final one-dayer of the season, which will pit the two Tigers sides against each other at Morwell Recreation Reserve.

After missing last round due to the bye, the big question heading into the match is whether the reigning premier has been successful in preventing rust setting in after a month on the sideline.

Several players made the most of the bye to ply their trade in second grade, with Cameron Le Page making scores of 40 and 57 not out in two innings.

The last time Mirboo North took the field was against Latrobe in round eight in a two day match played across one weekend.

In that match the league leader posted a whopping 313 before routing the Sharks for 95.

Morwell goes into the match after an impressive pre-Christmas win against Jeeralang Boolarra.

After conceding 185 against the Panthers on day one, veteran all-rounder Robert Webber made 83 to help his team take the points.

He was ably supported by Mark Cukier, who chipped in with 42 of his own.

At full strength both teams field quality line-ups, with Mirboo North featuring four of the top 10 run-scorers this season in Rob Phoenix (second), Shane Peters (third), Jesse Giardina (fourth) and Will Cheatley (eighth).

It can also count the league’s fourth-highest wicket taker in spinner Dale Banks, who has 20 scalps so far this season.

Morwell are no slouches either, with Webber and Cukier ranked sixth and eighth among this season’s top run scorers, respectively.

Travis Pickering’s 12 scalps put him in eighth position on the wicket takers‘ table.

The two Tigers teams are arguably the most balanced in the competition and will relish the opportunity to face off after Morwell bested the previously undefeated Mirboo North in round seven.

In that match the reigning premier posted an imposing 191, which was chased down on the second day when Webber blasted 91 off 124 balls.

Jeeralang Boolarra v Moe

Moe finds itself in a virtual last chance saloon when it takes on Jeeralang Boolarra in a bid to keep its finals hopes alive.

The Lions find themselves in sixth place on the ladder and more than 11 points outside the four.

With just four two day matches remaining after this round, the six points on offer at Boolarra Recreation Reserve will be vital to any hopes Moe has to resurrect its season.

The last time the two teams met, the Panthers inflicted a crushing outright loss on their opponents.

Jeeralang Boolarra posted 245 before rolling the Lions for 120 and asking them to follow on.

Moe capitulated in the second dig to be all out for 92.

Both teams depend on their skippers with both bat and ball and this match could be decided by which of the Lions’ Andrew Philip or the Panthers’ Stanley Urbanic Junior fires.

Philip is the competition’s leading run scorer with 411 runs at the breathtaking average of 102.75, achieved largely off the back of three unbeaten centuries.

He has also taken 13 wickets at an average of 13.69.

While the Moe skipper has the edge on Urbanic’s 161 runs at 26.83 with the bat, the Jeeralang Boolarra captain has scythed through opponents with the ball – taking 22 scalps at an average of 6.91 in the process.

The Lions have the potential to cause an upset but its hard to see them overcoming one of the competition’s form teams on their home turf.

Latrobe v Yallourn North

Second-placed Latrobe returns to action against Yallourn North at Peter Siddle Oval.

The Sharks find themselves only a fraction of a point ahead of Jeeralang Boolarra and will look to use the match to strengthen their ladder position.

The Bombers are still hunting for their first win of the season and the change of format may work in their favour.

Latrobe’s pace attack has fired consistently all season and it is difficult to see Yallourn North claiming its first victory against such accomplished opponents.