EMU Valley Cricket Association teams return to the field for today’s one-day clashes in divisions one, two and three.
Many players anxiously awaited the weather report on last night’s WIN TV news.
Under league rules, if the forecast temperature for today had been 40 degrees or more there would be no play.
The forecast is 39, so matches are on from 1pm.
A big clash will be Marong against Mandurang at Marong Links Oval.
Fifth on the ladder, Marong will be desperate to take the points against the third-placed Mandurang.
Panthers’ batsman Scott Ross has scored 440 runs at an average of 110. A career-high was the league record 283 not out in Marong’s win at Spring Gully.
Ross and his team-mates face a tough task against a Mandurang attack led by Leigh Haw, nine wickets; captain Warrick Behrens, eight; and Michael Healy.
It’s batting where Mandurang may hold the edge through the likes of Cain Ladiges, Behrens, Haw and Geoff Thompson.
Marong’s Jayden Laubsch and Zach Samuel have captured eight wickets apiece this season.
Second on the ladder, Emu Creek takes on the fourth-placed West Bendigo at Ken Wust Oval in Quarry Hill.
The Emus’ leading players in the opening six rounds have been Simon Marwood, 316 runs at 52; Tim Hobbs, 298; Shane Hamilton, 168; Anthony Collins, 11 wickets at 22; and Justin Hancock, eight wickets.
West Bendigo captain Dion Prange has captured 18 wickets at 14.94; while Ken Bell, Brad McHugh and Jason McDonald will play key roles for the Redbacks.
The ladder-leading United will aim to continue its unbeaten run when it plays Golden Gully at California Gully.
A formidable United line-up includes captain Forbes Klemm, 303 runs at 75; Alex Collins, 257 runs and 18 wickets; Andrew Gaul, 150 runs; and Rodney Smyth, 13 wickets.
Golden Gully has a record of one win, a draw, and four defeats.
The Seb Olle-captained Cobras will look for big games from Shaun O’Shea, Josh Hutchinson, Nathan Shatwell, Paul Barber and Jeremy Rogerson.
Axe Creek and Sedgwick do battle at Longlea.
The Jamie Morgan-led Cowboys will look for Travis Nolan, 229 runs and 13 wickets; Rob Fisher, 169 runs; and Morgan, who has taken 10 wickets, to continue their fine form.
Although it’s had just one win, Sedgwick will be no pushover.
A talented Sedgwick line-up includes the experienced Scott McKenzie, 13 wickets and 136 runs; captain Dustin Elliott, 165 runs; and Sam Alcock, 13 wickets.
Maiden Gully takes on a Spring Gully team, desperate to break its season duck, at Evolution Oval.
Lose today and Maiden Gully’s run to qualify for finals will be even harder.
The play of Paul Martin, 163 runs; Glenn McCoomb, 15 wickets; and batsmen Craig Green and will be crucial to the Mark Roberts-led Maiden Gully’s chances.
Spring Gully has battled for consistency all summer, but captain Ricky Mannix, Andrew Curran, Jarrod Quirk and Damien Dunlop are capable of a lot of runs and quickly.
The Crows will look for Peter Stepien, Nick Manley, Quirk and Dunlop to be on target with the ball.