Final four spots up for grabs in top tier

Kate Withers




One the most pivotal matches of the Premier A Grade home and away season will be played this weekend when MTY Raiders take on Moe in a bid to snag fourth spot and secure a finals berth.

Yinnar are four points behind Mirboo North and need to beat Moe this weekend and rely on CATS to hand the fourth-placed Tigers outright defeat in order to snare the last spot in the post-season.

Batsman Brad Knowles was crucial in Raiders’ push for a clutch draw with Morwell at the weekend and – alongside openers Chris Stanlake and Michael Higgins – will no doubt be a driving force in their quest for a win this weekend.

The last time the sides met in round 11 the Lions snatched a surprise one-day win after Raiders capitulated, with Higgins the only batsman to make it into the 20s as nine others fell for paltry single figures.

Day one will be played on Saturday at Ted Summerton Reserve from 11.30am.

Churchill v Morwell

Despite sitting in third spot, defending CGCA premiers Morwell are still not assured of a finals berth heading into this weekend’s final round clash with ladder leaders Churchill.

Morwell are tied with Mirboo North in fourth on 29 points, just four clear of Raiders in fifth.

Churchill have sewn up the minor premiership and lead CATS in second by 10 points, making the two-dayer an opportunity for them to hit freely and find form before their hunt for the premiership.

Morwell were in the box seat for a win after day one against Raiders in round 14 with what appeared to be a match-winning 7/357 but a gallant day-two performance from Yinnar meant they were forced to split the points.

The sides haven’t done battle since early December when Churchill came up trumps in a one-day fixture.

Key for the Tigers will be to withstand the attack of league leading wicket-taker Ross Whelpdale this weekend.

They will also need to find an avenue to swiftly remove danger men John Keighran and Brendan Mason, who sit first and second, respectively, on the league batting aggregate board.

Day one will be played on Saturday at George Cain Oval from 11.30am.

CATS v Mirboo North

AFTER playing themselves into second spot with a resounding win over Moe in round 14, CATS have surged into second spot on the LVDCL Premier A grade ladder and will look to consolidate their finals form.

With their season on the line and on the back of a stunning upset win over Churchill at the weekend, Mirboo North shouldn’t be discounted in a clash that just a month ago would have looked lopsided on paper.

Rob Phoenix steered his side to the win at the weekend with an innings-high knock of 60 and will again be key to their chances this weekend.