Cricket: Around the grounds

South (81) v Brothers (4-117) at McKittrick Park

BROTHERS have been the quite achievers in the competition – but that could all change.

With today’s game against South looking like a possible outright victory, the one-time sleeping giants could be awoken.

Cementing a place in the four is almost a given with their final game against Coutts next weekend likely to simply be a training run and warm up for the finals battles to come.

South were dismissed for 81 in their first innings with Brothers in a strong position at 4-117.

They already have a launching pad and will chase quick runs to set up a large lead.

Although losing key batsmen Brad Robertson, Mick Summers and Troy McLaren last week Brothers still have plenty of batting to come.

Jarrad Lynch resumes on 39 with ‘keeper Adam Dewberry joining him on 2 not out

A lead of around 100 may well be enough for Brothers against South who have shown little resistance with the bat this year.

Poor batting has plagued the side in recent times and, when their chance comes, they need Tom Kroehnert and his main men to step up to stave off another disappointing loss.

Brothers captain Brad Robertson will be chomping at the bit for a chance to take 10 wickets for the match after his devastating spell of bowling last week taking 6-26.

Robertson has endured a lean time with the bat this year but has excelled with the ball.

Noted as a medium-pace bowler who moves the ball off the deck, Robertson has the ability to be sharp at times and hurry the batsmen.

On a positive note South opening batsman Brett Woods is due for runs and will need to find form if his side is to avoid outright defeat.

Captain Kroehnert showed glimpses of form last week and like Woods is due for a big score.

It’s shaping as a good clash.

Westlawn (189) v Easts (1-3) at Ellem Oval

WILL 189 runs be enough?

That’s the question fronting competition leaders Westlawn as they strive to remain on top of the ladder against an Easts side determined to finish the season on a positive note.

Easts are not giving away their season just yet and would like to leave an impression on the finals-bound sides for next season.

“It’s a crucial game for us,” Westlawn’s Tony Blanch says.

“Both Brothers and Harwood are looking at getting outright points in their games so we need to win.

“We have them (Easts) in trouble at 1-3 and apart from getting early wickets we need to be meticulous with our field placing and take any chances that come our way.”

Blanch says the unavailability of Matt Lobsey and Nathan Blanch will add pressure to the remaining bowlers but singled out representative rookie John Blanch as Westlawn’s go-to man.

The left-armer has taken wickets for fun in 2009/10,

“John has been a genuine wicket-taker this season and with Rohan (Hackett) at the other end we could put Easts under early pressure,” says Blanch.

“Easts’ batting will focus around Doug Harris and it’s only a matter of time until Connor Finney and Aidan O’Brien get runs.

“We will probably bowl our medium-pace bowlers at one end and spin from the other.”

For Easts captain Doug Harris today’s game will be a chance for his younger players to prove themselves against a formidable bowling attack.

Plus any chance to dent a premiership contender will be a feather in the cap of the mid-table lineup.

“It’s a good chance for our younger guys to gain some valuable experience against a good bowling attack,” Harris says.

“It will also be a chance for me to hopefully spend some time in the middle. Tim Whalan is yet to bat and he has been one of our form batsmen this season.”

Harwood (7-328dec) v Tucabia Blue (2-7) at Yamba

THE CHANCES of a Tucabia Blue victory against Harwood at Yamba are remote to say the least.

Chasing a mammoth total of 7-328 declared Tucabia have plenty of work to do resuming their innings at 2-7.

Earlier in the week Harwood captain Tim McMahon appeared reluctant to say if his side were a chance of an outright but realistically Tucabia are behind the eight-ball.

The only saving grace for Tucabia is that star duo Matt Kroehnert and Brett O’Connor are still to come.

They are likely to be the only batsmen in the lineup who possess the power to haul in such a large total.

Mark Ensbey’s magnificent innings of 153 last week has Harwood in a commanding position and only a miracle - or a Kroehnert special - can save the Blue side from a massive defeat.

McMahon was contacted yesterday and confirmed there could be a bit in the wicket for his bowlers.

“We’ve had about an inch of rain today so our seamers may get some movement off the deck,” a confident McMahon said.

“There has been moisture around all week and the boys have been taking the covers on and off all day.

“Apart from our seamers I expect Matt Young to play and important role with his spin.”

McMahon added he is not concerned with the possibility of gaining outright points and has his sights on smaller targets.

“We will be concentrating on getting them out and first innings points. They still have some batting to come in Matt Kroehnert and Brett O’Connor,” he said.

A Harwood outright victory could see them leap-frog Westlawn into first place on the ladder and, with a final round game against South next week at Harwood, they have an opportunity to take out the minor premiership.

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