EAST GAMBIER v WEST GAMBIER
THE last time East and West Gambier met over two days in the Barber Shield cricket competition it was in the 2022-23 grand final.
They opened this season with a rematch in the one-day format, where West redeemed itself somewhat with a big win.
However, the two-day game is a different beast and the Bulldogs have not dropped a game since their last meeting.
Last week East easily accounted for Penola in the short format, while it also had the jump over South Gambier thanks to an impressive bowling display in Round 2.
The Roos also enter the round off a win, having defeated South in a thriller at Blue Lake Sports Park on the weekend.
However, Round 2 was a less-favourable result as an undermanned side succumbed to North Sportsman’s.
As it stands West sits in third place on the ladder with East in fourth.
They will both be eager to move up the order and a good start in Saturday’s opening day will go a long way to deciding the outcome.
Played at Alan Scott Park, the Bulldogs will enjoy the comforts of home and regardless if they bowl or bat this week, they should be well served.
The East bowling line-up has had a good start to the season.
Liam Turley and Connor Little both come off three-wicket hauls last week, while Ben Henstchke’s second-round figures of 5/3 were nothing short of impressive.
Emerson Marks is another reliable bowler, while with the bat the likes of captain Alex Hentschke and Dion Stratford are always around the mark.
Last week it was James Sullivan and Ben Robinson who did the big hitting against the Eagles and they will be eager to add further half centuries to their resumes.
West will look for another well-rounded performance, which was what kept the Roos in front against the Demons last week.
Bray Stephenson’s 55 runs led a balanced batting output, before the Roos defended their 183 runs, bowling South out in the 33rd over for 178.
Sam Willis was in impressive form and claimed five wickets on the day – something he will hope to replicate this round.
Stephenson has also been good with ball in hand, while the likes of Kyal Chapman, Sujith Nikethana and Justin De Jong all had multiple wickets against the Bulldogs in Round 1.
The teams are well matched and a close encounter could unfold over the next two weeks.