BDCA run home: the finals race heating up

WITH three rounds remaining in the Bendigo District Cricket Association season, the finals race is down to six teams.

Golden Square, Strathdale-Maristians, White Hills, Bendigo United, Eaglehawk and Huntly-North Epsom are the six contenders for the four finals berths.

So who will be the four to make the business end of the season?

LUKE WEST takes a look at the run home for the contenders.

1st - Golden Square: 10-0, 1.62%.

Still to come: v Kangaroo Flat (h), v Strathfieldsaye (a), v Strathdale (h).

Barring any major catastrophe from here, the undefeated Square will finish on top and claim the minor premiership, as well as the advantages that come in the finals should rain intervene.

Should be far too good for Kangaroo Flat and Strathfieldsaye in their next two games, but the round 13 clash with Strathdale-Maristians shapes as an appetising teaser for what could come in the finals.

2nd - Strathdale-Maristians: 7-3, 1.52%.

Still to come: v Bendigo United (a), v Huntly-North Epsom (h), v Golden Square (a).

Testing run home for the defending premiers against three opponents that still have plenty to play for, in particular their next two in Bendigo United and Huntly-North Epsom.

And come round 13, the Suns will be keen to get one back on Golden Square before the finals after they lost to the ladder-leaders by 19 runs in round nine.

Even with a tricky draw, can't see the Suns missing the finals for the first time since 2004-05.

Instead, they're going to be mighty hard to stop again from winning a fourth flag in a row.

3rd - White Hills: 7-3, 1.15%.

Still to come: v Huntly-North Epsom (a), v Bendigo United (h), v Kangaroo Flat (a).

It has been said all season that the Demons have been the biggest surprise packets of the summer.

Only the most optimistic of White Hills supporters could have envisaged back in October that they'd be sitting third with three rounds to play and in a strong position to play finals for the first time since 1999.

But was last weekend's three-run loss to Bendigo the first crack for the Demons?

A big two games coming up against two of the sides below them in Huntly-North Epsom and Bendigo United, before rounding out the season against the battling Kangaroo Flat.

It's in their hands - if the Demons are good enough, they'll play finals for the first time in 15 years, but they won't want it to come down to the last game against Kangaroo Flat.

Unfortunately for the Demons, I've got them finishing fifth on percentage.

4th - Bendigo United: 6-4, 1.45%.

Still to come: v Strathdale (h), v White Hills (a), v Bendigo (h).

The Redbacks have played in every finals series since 2002-03, but the pressure is on as they sit just percentage inside the top four.

What adds to the pressure is that the Redbacks' three remaining games are all against teams that have beaten them this season in one-day matches.

Admittedly, it's much tougher to see the Redbacks losing a two-day game to the likes of Bendigo and White Hills on the run home.

But if they do, their finals streak of more than a decade could be over.

Who'd have thought that at the start of the season when they brought in the high-profile pair of Ben Gunn and Bryan Vance to bolster their playing stocks.

5th - Eaglehawk: 6-4, 0.98%.

Still to come: v Sandhurst (h), v Bendigo (a), v Strathfieldsaye (h).

The Hawks lost their position in the top four and their percentage took a hit last game with a 171-run loss to Strathdale-Maristians.

However, the Hawks have a favourable last three games, with their three matches all against opponents below them on the ladder.

If the Hawks are going to play finals and do any damage come March, they should end the home and away season with three good wins.

Although, Bendigo, in particular, always seems to cause the Hawks more problems than their ladder positions usually suggests.

6th - Huntly-North Epsom: 5-5, 1.01%.

Still to come: v White Hills (h), v Strathdale (a), v Sandhurst (h).

Straight-forward for the Power - they need to win their last three games and hope other results fall their way to be any chance of playing finals.

An outright win or two wouldn't go astray either, but can't see that happening, with a 1-4 start to the season likely to come back and haunt the Power.

RESULTS PREDICTOR:

ROUND 11:

Bendigo v Strathfieldsaye

Bendigo United v Strathdale

Eaglehawk v Sandhurst

Golden Square v Kangaroo Flat

Huntly-North v White Hills

ROUND 12:

Strathfieldsaye v Golden Square

Sandhurst v Kangaroo Flat

Bendigo v Eaglehawk

Strathdale v Huntly-North

White Hills v Bendigo United

ROUND 13:

Bendigo United v Bendigo

Eaglehawk v Strathfieldsaye

Kangaroo Flat v White Hills

Huntly-North v Sandhurst

Golden Square v Strathdale

PREDICTED FINAL LADDER:

1. Golden Square - 72pts.

2. Strathdale - 60.

3. Eaglehawk - 54.

4. Bendigo United - 48.

5. White Hills - 48.

6. Huntly-North - 42.

7. Bendigo - 24.

8. Strathfieldsaye - 18.

9. Sandhurst - 12.

10. Kangaroo Flat - 12.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop