Who will win in round three of the Emu Valley Cricket Association when it hits off on Saturday?
SPRING GULLY v GOLDEN GULLY - OTH Oval
Spring Gully - opened its account last round with a comfortable 110-run win over Maiden Gully.
The win was highlighted by a century from Shaun Makepeace (111) and superb bowling performance from coach Damien Dunlop (4-38 off 24 overs).
Makepeace is the only Crows’ player to have made more than 30 in an innings, so the load needs to be shared more among the batsmen.
Leading runs - S. Makepeace (111), J. Mannix (48), J. Harris (38). Wickets - D. Dunlop (5), D. Tyler (2), S. Makepeace (2).
Golden Gully - the signs are there early that the Cobras can improve on last season’s tally of three wins.
The Cobras are 1-1 and certainly weren’t disgraced last round when they lost to United by 26 runs.
Travis Eckardt and Cameron Moore have both started the season in good touch with the ball, having taken five wickets each, while Shaun O’Shea has picked up four.
This is a winnable game.
Leading runs - B. Lummis (75), M. Tierney (60), P. Moore (49). Wickets - T. Eckardt (5), C. Moore (5), S. O’Shea (4).
WEST BENDIGO v AXE CREEK - Ken Wust Oval
West Bendigo - clung on by five runs to defeat Marong last week and win its first game of the season after defending a score of 239.
Top-order batsmen Joel Purdy, coach Matt Dwyer and Ken Bell have all made scores of more than 70 in the opening two rounds, while the side has been strengthened by the return of the experienced Travis O’Connell.
Captain Dion Prange has picked up from where he left off last season with five wickets.
Leading runs - J. Purdy (108), M. Dwyer (94), K. Bell (92). Wickets - D. Prange (5), M. Kervin (3), O. Maher (2).
Axe Creek - there will be plenty of interest in the Cowboys’ bowlers to see how they respond to last round's hammering at the hand of Emu Creek when they conceded 520 runs.
The starting point for the Cowboys should be a simple early breakthrough after they had conceded 226 runs before finally taking their first wicket against the Emus.
They have Daniel Saaghy, who was their best bowler in round one, back.
Leading runs - R. Fisher (66), T. Nolan (62), A. Dixon (62). Wickets - D. Saaghy (3), D. Cannings (3), A. Broad (2).
MAIDEN GULLY v SEDGWICK - Evolution Oval.
Maiden Gully - on the bottom of the ladder without a win after the batsmen again battled last round against Spring Gully.
Maiden Gully has mustered scores of just 143 and 9-141 in its opening two games, with its batting issues highlighted by the fact only Brett Haw (55), Paul Martin (55) and Alex Gorrie (32) have made more than 30 runs.
With no Martin picked in the side this round, there’s now extra pressure on the batsmen to lift.
Leading runs - B. Haw (55), P. Martin (55), A. Gorrie (32). Wickets - S. Cole (4), S. Rabbitt (4), P. Martin (3).
Sedgwick - like Maiden Gully, the Rams are also winless from their two games.
The Rams copped a 137-run hiding off Mandurang last round when they conceded a score of 334, but they won’t be facing a batting line-up of the same quality in this encounter.
Scott McKenize (five) and Jordan Knight (four) have combined for nine wickets for the Rams.
Leading runs - D. Elliott (87), S. McKenzie (56), G. Burns (45). Wickets - S. McKenzie (5), J. Knight (4), D. Horan (3).
MARONG v MANDURANG - Marong Links Oval
Marong - so close for the Panthers last week after almost pulling off a remarkable victory.
Had been 5-62 needing 240 to win against West Bendigo, before a knock of 97 from captain Jeremy Ross led Marong to the brink of victory, only to fall five runs short.
They go into this game as the underdogs, with the challenge all the more difficult without either of Jeremy Ross or Scott Ross named.
Leading runs - J. Ross (124), D. Tonkin (50), R. Murphy (38). Wickets - J. Laubsch (7), D. Anderson (3), R. Murphy (2).
Mandurang - the Rangas were at their run-scoring best last round with their score of 337 in a big win over Sedgwick.
Explosive opener Matt Giri (107) dominated with a ton, while veteran Ben Rodda finished 92 not out and has now made 132 runs this season without being dismissed.
The Rangas should have too much batting strength for the undermanned Panthers.
Leading runs - B. Rodda (132), M. Giri (130), W. Behrens (55). Wickets - M. Giri (3), M. Politakis (3), B. Rodda (3).
UNITED v EMU CREEK - Ewing Park
United - defeated Golden Gully by 26 runs last week, with the win highlighted by an unbeaten century from Andrew Gaul.
Gaul smashed 112 n.o. after he missed out in round one when dismissed for four against West Bendigo.
The Tigers have started the season with scores of 258 and 8-287 and will need to be at their best with bat and ball to defeat the Emus.
Wicket-keeper Andy Collins is back in the side and will add some extra depth to the batting line-up after scoring 36 in round one.
Leading runs - A. Gaul (116), T. Elliott (97), F. Klemm (79). Wickets - Alex Collins (5), F. Cole (4), R. Smyth (4).
Emu Creek - dominated the headlines last round with its mammoth score of 7-520 against Axe Creek, highlighted by centuries from Simon Marwood (163 n.o.) and captain Daniel Chamberlain (145).
However, taking on a fellow flag contender in United poses a much tougher assignment.
But if they bat even half as good as last game, they'll still make 260 and be hard to beat.
Leading runs - S. Marwood (194), D. Chamberlain (154), S. Cattanach (100). Wickets - S. Marwood (3), A. Harris (2), J. Hancock (2).