AFTER one week in the coloured clothes, the traditional red ball two-day format returns to the Barber Shield this weekend, with ladder leader Penola hosting a rejuvenated East Gambier at McCorquindale Park tomorrow.
The Bulldogs are on a high after their first win of the season against West Gambier last week, but could be in for a reality check when they face the reigning premier on its home soil.
However, the last time the sides met East sprung a surprise on the Eagles when it almost snatched an upset victory.
However, the game resulted in a tie and until last week the Bulldogs have been on a down hill slope.
Although this clash appears to be a one-sided affair, it does match up two of the competition’s leading run scorers, with Penola’s David Somerfield and East captain Dion Stratford.
Both batsmen have scored consistent runs throughout the Barber Shield season as Somerfield has scored 443 for 2018-19, while Stratford has compiled 370.
The pair also come off the back of recent centuries after Somerfield toned up against West Gambier in his side’s most recent two-day game and Stratford brought up the milestone against a quality North Sportsman’s attack in the Twenty20 competition last week.
The key difference for the two teams is Somerfield has been supported by his fellow Eagles to produce match-winning totals, while Stratford has often played a lone hand, watching his partners fall around him.
The game’s result will most likely be decided by which one of this star pair scores the most runs, therefore a large amount of pressure is placed on the bowlers from both teams.
Particularity East, as its attack conceded a massive 224 runs off the bat of North’s Jake Schutz alone in their last two-day clash, while it bounced back to dismiss West for just 102 in a more positive display last week.
Simon Golebiowski and Alex Hentschke led the way with three wickets each.
Meanwhile, Penola’s bowling lineup is probably the most rounded and potent in the Barber Shield this season.
Micheal Waters, Jack Mullan, George Kidman and Somerfield have all captured regular wickets to allow no respite for the opposition.
Although the Bulldogs are buoyed by their recent success, they will face a steep challenge against the undefeated Penola.
It is an ideal opportunity for the Eagles to claim a big win and consolidate their top position heading into finals.