NORTH SPORTSMAN’S v SOUTH GAMBIER
IT will be a special occasion when North Sportsman’s and South Gambier lock horns at Marist Park tomorrow, as it will not be just another cricket match in the Barber Shield competition.
For the first time in the region, teams will celebrate and recognise the impact Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people have had on the game by playing a Reconciliation match.
The one-day contest will be a historic moment for South East sport and a number of initiatives will showcase the culture on and off the field.
Proceedings will kick off with a welcome to country by a Boandik member, while stumps and captains hats will be decorated with a special artwork.
The participating players will also conduct a barefoot circle to show their support and commitment to the cause, while fans in attendance can get involved during a free cricket blast program at the tea break.
The match itself shapes up to be an absorbing battle between two of the form sides of the competition.
Hoping to maintain their position at the top of the ladder will be the Demons, who won in thrilling fashion the last time the rivals met.
But South suffered its second defeat of the season last round and could receive a thorough examination by an in-form Tigers outfit.
North has responded from a frustrating start to the season and fired itself back into contention with an undefeated run after Christmas.
The two wins have been orchestrated by its bowling attack, which cleaned up East and West for double-figure totals.
Nick McInerney, Tim Young, Elliott Fisher, Declan Kenny and Kayne Badman will hunt as a pack and apply constant pressure on a deep Demons’ batting order.
South has posted solid totals recently thanks to big scores by David Somerfield and David Vine, while the middle order can offer support.
Although the Tigers’ batsmen are yet to find their best touch, an in-form Jake Schutz could prove the difference.
The opener scored his first half century of the season last round and has made an impact at the Senior Country Cup in Adelaide this week.
Schutz was one of five current North players to take part in the state-wide carnival and they must remain switched on when facing a fresh South bowling outfit.
Robert Drenthen will be keen to have the red ball back in his hand after an 11-wicket match last time and he will be supported by the potent Adam Kuhl, Camron Jorgensen and Daniel Loupos.
The contest between two of the competition’s heavyweights should provide a fitting spectacle for a historic occasion at the picturesque venue.
WEST GAMBIER v EAST GAMBIER
AFTER a delayed start to round nine of the Mount Gambier and District Cricket Association season, tomorrow’s Barber Shield clash between West and East Gambier at Malseed Park will be a one-day game of 40 overs per side with a red ball used.
The move could give the home team a small boost after it won the recent limited-overs match against the Bulldogs.
But the favourites tag is held by East after it has enjoyed a more fruitful return since the round-two fixture.
The Bulldogs have soared up to second on the ladder with four wins in their last six games.
Three of those victories took place in limited-overs matches and the Alex Hentschke led team will be full of confidence after a big win without its captain against Mil Lel.
Dion Stratford was at the top of his game in the match with an unbeaten century and will be the main target for the home side.
All-rounder Emerson Marks is arguably in career-best form with two half centuries and 11 wickets in his last three outings.
The youngster will look forward to resume bowling with spin-twin Ben Hentschke, who returns alongside his brother after missing last round.
Alex Hentschke will add plenty of pace alongside the likes of Ben Clark, Liam Turley and Connor Little, which is bad news for a West batting line up under pressure to perform.
The Roos have only passed triples figures once in their past four innings with a highest team total of just 103 in that time.
Those poor batting efforts have caused West to heavily lose its last three encounters.
The side is in desperate need of a win to keep its finals’ hopes alive and will look to the previous match against the Bulldogs for inspiration.
Richard Crute, Sam Willis and Niall Easterbrook led the team to victory in round two and the trio will be called upon once again, but it will be a tall order to replicate their feats against a stronger East line up.
The Bulldogs’ recent form should be the decisive factor in the clash, but the Roos can not be discounted playing at home and hoping to turn their season around.
PENOLA v MIL LEL
A DELAYED start could hand Penola a significant advantage in its important round-nine Barber Shield clash against Mil Lel at McCorquindale Park tomorrow.
After rain washed out any chance of on-field action last week, the format of the two-day clash has been changed to a 40-overs-per-side contest.
However, the players will continue using the traditional red ball and white clothing, while no fielding restrictions will be introduced.
The switch gives the Eagles a significant boost because they hold a far better one-day record than their rival on the bottom of the ladder.
Penola is undefeated in 40-over games this season and has knocked off big teams such as South Gambier and North Sportsman’s.
Opening batsman Jack Mullan has been a key contributor to the side’s recent success.
He has raised the bat for the 50-run milestone in his last two appearances at the crease and will be keen to get the Eagles off to another flying start.
Mullan’s opening partner Mark Smith has also been in decent touch with valuable contributions lately, while Michael Waters offers fight down the order.
Waters is also set to lead the bowling attack after his consistent summer with wickets in each game, while Conrad Slabber turns into a strike weapon in limited-overs contests.
Meanwhile, Mil Lel has not won a one-day match all season and is in desperate need of a victory to avoid a bottom-of-the-ladder finish.
Its bowlers have struggled to adapt to the shortened format and conceded big scores to the opposition.
In both of the last two games, an opposing batsman has smashed a century to take the game away from Mil Lel.
The likes of Ben Thiel, Jonathan Allcock and Tom Nieuwerkerk will be desperate to avoid another day of toil.
Last round Mil Lel’s batsmen failed to post an imposing score despite six players reaching double figures.
Daniel Justin, Paul Harding and Craig Lock have been strong in the two-day game and will need to translate this form into a limited-overs fixture.
With warm conditions expected, Penola’s superior short-format record should prove too much for a battling Mil Lel outfit.