THE second half of Cricket Latrobe Valley gets underway this Saturday for first grade teams.

Teams in Premier A and A Grade will play one day games, as the season moves into 2024.

Lower grades get to enjoy an extra week off, and will get back in action on Saturday, January 13.

Some reshuffling of Premier A games has been needed to make up for the number of washouts before Christmas.

Incredibly, some Premier A teams only played five days of cricket in the first half of the season, as heavy rain fell across consecutive weeks.

This Sunday has been set aside to fit the extra games in.

While ordinarily, at least one team would be cricket-free over the weekend, all nine of the competition’s Premier A sides will be in action.

Victoria Country commitments mean two of the league’s best players will be absent at club level in the form of Lee Stockdale and Nat Freitag.

Morwell may have picked an ideal week to play a Stockdale-free Ex Students, but by the same token, will be fully aware the Sharks are far from a one-man team.

The last encounter between the two sides was a two day match decided by just 12 runs. For reference, Stockdale made just four in the first innings and also went wicket-less in an Ex Students victory.

With this in mind, a close contest could be on the cards at Keegan Street for the rematch.

Morwell will hope to avoid another close loss, adding to the one suffered in the last game before Christmas.

In that game, Morwell lost to their Tiger counterparts from Mirboo North by five runs.

New recruit Cyrus Shafi has proven his worth, with scores of 46, 43 and 50, and he looms as a key wicket for Ex Students to take.


Cricket Latrobe Valley – Premier A Grade

THE Freitag equation meanwhile presents an interesting case study.

While Glengarry will undoubtedly be weakened by his absence in the top four, if the Magpies could choose to play any opponent this weekend, it is likely they would choose Raiders.

Glengarry will welcome Raiders to Fred King Oval, who amazingly, have not have played a game since November 25.

Equally amazing, their opponent on that date was Glengarry.

Wet weather, a bye and the three-week break over Christmas will surely mean the Yinnar-based side is short of practice, giving Glengarry some sort of edge.

Raiders will hope the experience from players such as Liam Maynard and Mick Higgins means the game doesn’t get away from them in a hurry, while the Freitag factor should count for something.

After all, Freitag did score 94 not out in a score of 178 the last time the sides met.


MOE has two games this weekend.

The Lions were the team most affected by rain in the first half of the season, losing five out of 10 days taking in washouts and the bye.

As such, Moe will add this Sunday to its regular Saturday fixture in an effort to try and catch-up on the opportunity to share in equal premiership points on offer.

Saturday’s game against Mirboo North looks an even-money bet.

While the match is scheduled for Ted Summerton Reserve, the oval was ripped up over the break for major resurfacing works, and looks highly unlikely to be ready in time for Saturday.

At this stage, the game will most likely be held at Moe Racecourse Turf.

Regardless, Moe and Mirboo North have each averaged scores around the 150 mark in both formats so far this season, meaning the bowling cartels of either side could have the ultimate say in who wins.

Young gun Max Woodall destroyed the Morwell top order last game, knicking four batsmen off, while for Moe, spinner Callum Grant has taken 10 wickets from only a handful of games brought about by the weather.

The Lions will back up on Sunday, making the journey to Traralgon South.

There, they will face a fresh CATS outfit coming off a bye the previous day.

CATS suddenly appear a more frightening proposition with former professionals Cal Stewart and Tinashe Panyangara reportedly back playing at maximum intensity.


TOONGABBIE are also backing up for two games this weekend.

The Rams host Churchill on Saturday, and then travel to Mirboo North on Sunday.

While they haven’t been afforded the chance of playing many games, Toongabbie has been underwhelming the times it has, with just a single win to their credit from four games.

Even then, that win was by only five runs, which came against Mirboo North in Round 5.

It was a completely different story the last time Toongabbie played Churchill, with the Rams suffering an 88-run hammering.

With Toongabbie set to play both these opponents across the same weekend, skipper Keenan Hughes will see Sunday’s game as an absolute must-win.

The battle between Hughes and John Keighran on Saturday looks to be compulsive viewing. Keighran whacked 77 off 67 balls against Toongabbie last time, and Hughes will only have limited overs at him this time around.


Cricket Latrobe Valley – A Grade

ROVERS will start heavy favourites against Willow Grove.

The team from Duncan Cameron will be hoping the new year does not disrupt the power of momentum they built in the 2023 part of the season.

Put simply, Rovers hit the ball to all parts before Christmas, putting up four 200-plus scores.

Oliver Hannam and Dougal Williams celebrated centuries in the last round, and will want to keep the good times rolling in the second half of the season.

Unfortunately for Willow Grove, the signs could not be more alarming.

The Wolves were knocked over for 26 by Rovers the last time they met, and that was with playing-coach Todd Mann in the team.

Mann took seven wickets that game, but has since moved to fellow CLV club Imperials.

Adding Rovers’ scores this season to the fact this game is on the Willow Grove hard deck, pundits can probably draw their own conclusions as to what could be in store.


TRARALGON WEST and Centrals meet in the local derby.

Centrals come into the game with less than ideal preparation, having not played since late November.

A washout, followed by a bye and then Christmas was an unlucky break for the Lions, something the Eagles will surely look to take advantage of at Apex Park.

Traralgon West is not without their concerns either, with a huge loss to Rovers last round impossible to ignore.

The Eagles did however flog Centrals in their last encounter, in a game that saw off spinner Ben Fleming take four wickets.

Spin could prove decisive on an Apex Park track that traditionally comes onto the bat quite nicely against fast and medium pace bowlers.

Even if the wicket isn’t turning, pace off in a one day game usually allows fielding teams to control tempo and pick up wickets in the last session.


GORMANDALE and Imperials will meet a few six hits away.

Stoddart Oval is the venue, and the Tigers will be aiming to start the new year the way they finished the last, with a win.

The same can be said of Imperials, who enter having already done the job against Gormandale this season.

Imperials did it relatively easily on that occasion in Round 6, winning by 76 runs in what was a high-scoring game.

Regardless of how the result swings this Saturday, the game has the makings of a similarly high-scoring encounter.

Gormandale captain Matt Hibbs is capable of going big, as is Imperials leader Ryan Morley.


LATROBE has the bye.