EAGLEHAWK’S bowling stocks have been given a boost in the Bendigo District Cricket Association with the return of Richard Tibbett.
Tibbett started the season with Premier Cricket Club Richmond.
But he’s returned to Eaglehawk, and after spending the past two games playing in the third XI as an opening batsman while recovering from a groin injury, he’s ready to unleash his thunderbolts against the Suns at Bell Oval on Saturday.
“He was close to playing for us last game after his groin injury, but we’ll just ease him back in tomorrow,” Eaglehawk skipper Jason Abbott said on Friday.
“We’ll bowl him in a couple of shorter spells.
“He’s a huge inclusion for us because he gives us that X-factor that not a lot of other sides have got with that genuine pace at the start of the innings.”
Saturday’s round 10 clash - a two-day match - is a crucial contest for the Suns and Hawks.
Both have 6-3 records and sit one game clear of the fifth-placed Bendigo United.
The two sides met earlier in the season in round two when the Hawks won by three wickets to end the Suns’ 26-game unbeaten streak.
The Hawks are coming off a five-wicket win over Strathfieldsaye last week, while the Suns lost to Golden Square by 19 runs.
However, the Suns’ team has been boosted by the return of Victoria Country representatives Cameron Taylor, captain Linton Jacobs and Travis King.
KANGAROO FLAT v HUNTLY-NORTH EPSOM - Dower Park
Kangaroo Flat - The Roos have dropped to the bottom of the ladder following last week’s five-wicket loss to White Hills at KWD Oval.
They have added some more experience to the side with the inclusion of wily veteran Shane Harling, who will bowl a consistent line and length with his spin, but will be without all-rounder Brent Hamblin.
Need to show more with the bat after Brad Orton (35) and captain Adam Burns (26) were the only players to make more than 20 last week.
Huntly-North Epsom - The Power kept themselves with a glimmer of finals hopes last week following their three-wicket win over Sandhurst.
They have now won three of their past four games, but are still 12 points outside the top four.
Michael Hanson will captain the Power in the absence of Linc McRae, who hurt his back last week against the Dragons.
With no McRae (271 runs) in the side, the Power will be missing their leading run-scorer for the season.
SANDHURST v GOLDEN SQUARE - J.L. King Weeroona Oval
Sandhurst - the Dragons come up against one of their bogey teams, having only beaten Golden Square twice since 2000.
Sandhurst last week suffered a three-wicket defeat to Huntly-North Epsom in a game where Shane Robinson was the only player to offer any genuine resistance with the bat.
After battling earlier in the season when he made just 51 runs in his first eight innings, Robinson has enjoyed a return to form with scores of 51 and 64 in his past two knocks.
Golden Square - Square remains firmly on track to finish on top of the ladder.
They beat Strathdale-Maristians last week by 19 runs in what had been a battle of the top-two teams to improve their unbeaten record to 9-0.
Tim Wood - who made 80 in his last innings against Strathfieldsaye in round eight - returns to the side to captain.
He strengthens a batting line-up that had John Lalor (60) and Scott Trollope (70) both score half-centuries last week.
No Darren Clutton this game.
STRATHFIELDSAYE v BENDIGO UNITED - Tannery Lane
Strathfieldsaye - The Jets certainly haven’t been the easybeats that many predicted pre-season.
But they’ve run into problems with their batting in their past three games.
Have been bowled out for scores of 133, 129 and 154 in their past three games, during which they’ve had just three players make more than 30.
They now come up against a Bendigo United side that will be fired up after losing last week.
The Jets haven’t defeated the Redbacks for five years.
Bendigo United - How did Bendigo United cough that game up against Bendigo last week?
The Redbacks had the Goers on toast at 7-84 needing 200 to win, but they couldn’t finish the job and were beaten by one wicket.
Who knows just what the ramifications of that loss will be come the end of the season?
The shock loss sent the Redbacks out of the top four.
Matt Pinniger continues to dominate with the bat and leads the BDCA with 416 runs at an average of 52.0.
WHITE HILLS v BENDIGO - KWD Oval
White Hills - The Demons continue to impress as they close in on their first finals appearance since 1999.
They are sitting second on the ladder with a 7-2 record, and with a favourable run home, would need to capitulate to miss the finals from here.
There’s no superstars in the White Hills team, with their strong form this season based simply on an honest, even team effort each week.
And that’s what they’ll need again to make sure they get past Bendigo at home and improve to 8-2.
Bendigo - The Goers enjoyed a much-needed confidence booster last week with their against-the-odds win against Bendigo United.
Now they’ll chase two wins in a row when they take on the Demons, who they fell just six runs short of in their one-day game in round two, while the two sides also played out a thrilling tie last season.
Following the return of Marcus McKern last week, the Goers welcome back another former skipper in leg-spinner Tim Edwards for this game.