Round six of the Emu Valley Cricket Association starts on Saturday.
MAIDEN GULLY v MARONG - Evolution Oval
Maiden Gully - what a pleasant change it is for the Gully to be going into a game with winning form.
The Gully last week won their first game for a year with their 107-run victory over Axe Creek.
The batting department finally stood up with its score of 266 - the Gully’s first score above 160 for the season.
With one win on the board, the next challenge for the Gully is to turn it into two in a row, but it’s going to be tough against the in-form Marong.
• Runs - R. Brown (175), P. Martin (142), S. Cole (105). Wickets - G. McCoomb (7), B. Haw (7), S. Cole (6).
Marong - the Panthers have impressed with bat and ball during three wins in a row and will be determined not to suffer a let-down against the bottom team.
In their three-straight wins over Mandurang, Sedgwick and Spring Gully, the Panthers have made an average of 269 runs, while bowling the opposition out for an average of 161.
Can’t see them losing, although, the Gully gave them a scare last time.
• Runs - J. Ross (254), A. Brown (140), N. Ede (136). Wickets - A. Brown (9), J. Laubsch (8), N. Ede (6).
EMU CREEK v SPRING GULLY - JG Edwards Oval
Emu Creek - the reigning premiers are undefeated after seeing off a challenge from Golden Gully last week.
Captain Daniel Chamberlain, Shane Hamilton and Jarrod Henderson are all coming off half-centuries with the bat last game.
The strength of the Emus’ batting continues to be show in all-rounder Simon Marwood, Chamberlain and Hamilton all ranked among the EVCA’s top-five run-scorers.
• Runs - S. Marwood (309), D. Chamberlain (285), S. Hamilton (233). Wickets - S. Marwood (15), A. Collins (11), D. Chamberlain (6).
Spring Gully - the Crows have lost their past two games and it only gets tougher this round with an away trip to take on the Emus.
Batting continues to present all sorts of problems for the Crows.
In their past two losses to Marong and Mandurang, they have been bowled out for scores of 143 and 147.
The Crows have already used 23 different players in their team.
• Runs - J. Mannix (159), S. Makepeace (111), R. Pedrotti (76). Wickets - D. Dunlop (19), L. Pilcher (9), J. Tovey (4).
GOLDEN GULLY v SEDGWICK - California Gully Oval
Golden Gully - dropped out of the top four after last week’s defeat to Emu Creek.
While the Cobras went down to the Emus by 81 runs, they did have the defending champions on the ropes one stage at 6-82 chasing 143.
Who knows just how big a difference having their strike bowler Cameron Moore in the side would have made?
Recruit Moore, who has taken 18 wickets, is back in this week.
• Runs - N. Hamblin (158), B. Lummis (142), N. Shatwell (113). Wickets - C. Moore (18), S. O’Shea (10), T. Eckardt (9).
Sedgwick - the Rams have caused the Cobras plenty of headaches over recent years, but will go into this game as the underdogs.
The Rams are still stuck on one win after last week’s 110-run loss to West Bendigo.
Special mention to the Rams’ Jacob Sparks, who last week batted with a broken right wrist in a 10th wicket partnership of 33 with Sam Alcock.
Rick Ladson is a handy inclusion.
• Runs - D. Elliott (198), J. Ilsley (76), S. McKenzie (72). Wickets - J. Knight (13), S. McKenzie (12), S. Alcock (8).
AXE CREEK v UNITED - Champions IGA Oval
Axe Creek - last week became the first side in a year to lose to Maiden Gully and must now confront one of the EVCA’s best teams in United.
Since beating Spring Gully in round one, the Cowboys have lost four in a row.
It has been a tough slog with the ball for the Cowboys, who in their four losses have conceded first innings scores of 266, 305, 271 and 520.
There will be no respite against the strong United batting line-up.
• Runs - T. Nolan (163), A. Dixon (157), R. Fisher (106). Wickets - D. Saaghy (13), T. Nolan (10), N. Skeen (9).
United - proved far too good for Mandurang last round in a 116-run victory to cement second position on the ladder.
The victory was highlighted by a century to opening batsman Josh White and five-wicket haul to wily veteran Rod Smyth.
Smyth joins Andrew Gaul, Alex Collins and Josh Filo as United players who have all taken at least five wickets in an innings this season.
• Runs - A. Gaul (189), T. Elliott (189), J. White (148). Wickets - A. Collins (16), A. Gaul (11), R. Smyth (10).
WEST BENDIGO v MANDURANG - Ken Wust Oval
West Bendigo - the Redbacks have got themselves back in the top four after last week's 110-run win over Sedgwick.
The bowlers, led by Trent Bysouth and captain Dion Prange, are doing a strong job for the Redbacks, who haven't conceded a first innings score of more than 169 in their past three games.
The bowling will again have to be disciplined against a Mandurang batting line-up that if it clicks is still a very dangerous proposition, despite its ladder position.
• Runs - K. Bell (245), M. Dwyer (230), M. Peters (125). Wickets - T. Bysouth (11), D. Prange (8), M. Dwyer (6).
Mandurang - no need for panic stations just yet, but if the Rangas get beaten, they will drop two games outside the top four, and from there making the finals becomes a tough slog.
There's been no consistency with the Rangas yet, with their formline this season reading LWLWL.
The three losses the Rangas have suffered have all been against teams currently inside the top four - Emu Creek, Marong and United.
Can the Rangas find the spark to ignite their season?
• Runs - M. Giri (228), B. Rodda (175), M. Healy (137). Wickets - M. Healy (10), M. Politakis (6), B. Rodda (5).