Demons closing in on long-awaited BDCA finals berth
WHITE Hills captain Daniel Larke says the Demons aren't letting the thought of a drought-breaking Bendigo District Cricket Association finals berth cause a distraction entering their last four home and away games.
But at the same time, the Demons are embracing the potential finals opportunity they have set up after winning seven of their nine games so far to be sitting second on the ladder.
The Demons - last year's wooden-spooners - have been the biggest surprise packet of the season and are now in a prime position to end the BDCA's longest finals drought.
White Hills last played finals in 1998-99 when the Demons lost by eight wickets to Eaglehawk in a semi-final.
The club has played 181 first XI games since for just 56 wins.
"You need 54 points to make the finals and we don't have 54 yet, so there's still a lot of work to do," Larke said on Thursday.
"We've still got some tough games to come... every side we play in the last four games beat us last year, so we can't afford to take any of them lightly.
"But it's fantastic to have that (finals) goal in front of us."
The Demons would be bitterly disappointed to blow a finals berth from the position they are in.
Not only are they two games inside the top four, but their four remaining games are all against teams outside the four, starting this week against Bendigo.
Larke - in his first season as captain - believes the key to the Demons' turnaround has been an even team performance.
"We're winning games with 11 blokes, rather than just relying on three or four," Larke said.
"If someone misses out one week, you can bank on other guys stepping up.
"What has helped also is a lot of the guys started their A grade career when they were 18 or 19.
"They've now had a few seasons and the maturity is starting to kick in, even though they are still young."
While the Demons have recently lost two of their English imports in leg-spinner Jake Foley and batsman Jack Hebron, they have regained star batsman Gavin Bowles, who has returned from overseas.