Preview of this weekend's Emu Valley Cricket Association semi-final between United and West Bendigo at Dwing Park.
UNITED v WEST BENDIGO at Ewing Park
UMPIRES: Greg Reeves and Rod Southon.
LAST TIME: February 15-22, 2014: United 6-291 (Andrew Collins 56, B. McHugh 1-11) dr West Bendigo 4-223 (J. Purdy 77, J. Piccoli 2-19).
SINCE 2008: United 4; West Bendigo 3.
Forbes Klemm (c) (253 runs).
Alex Collins (235 runs, 18 wkts).
Andrew Collins (420 runs).
Brenton Dillon (39 runs, 6 wkts).
Tim Elliott (486 runs).
Josh Filo (234 runs, 11 wkts).
Michael Frilay (117 runs, 2 wkts).
Andrew Gaul (383 runs, 23 wkts).
Patrick Hartney (first game this weekend).
Luke Kairn (181 runs, 6 wkts).
Josh White (234 runs, 3 wkts).
WEST BENDIGO (7-3-2):
Dion Prange (c) (193 runs, 18 wkts).
Ken Bell (511 runs, 3 wkts).
Boe Bish (144 runs, 4 wkts).
Trent Bysouth (90 runs, 12 wkts).
Matt Dwyer (479 runs, 6 wkts).
Bradley McHugh (107 runs, 2 wkts).
Travis O’Connell (254 runs, 1 wkt).
Michael Peters (258 runs, 7 wkts).
Joel Purdy (252 runs).
Scott Ryan (50 runs, 8 wkts).
Dale Warren (19 runs, 19 wkts).
THE semi-final clash between United and West Bendigo at Ewing Park shapes as a cracker.
The Tigers managed to land top spot on the ladder last week after a commanding win over Marong.
The Tigers lost just two games during the home and away season, with their standout player having been all-rounder Andrew Gaul, while classy batsman Andrew Collins enters the weekend having been dismissed just once for under 45 in his past six innings.
West Bendigo finished fourth on the ladder, but don’t be fooled by that.
Only a poor last hour against Golden Gully last week when they coughed up a winning position cost the Redbacks - who have had Matt Dwyer and Ken Bell dominate with the bat - top spot in what was their first loss since round three.
Dale Warren and captain Dion Prange have been the leaders with the ball in what has been an even bowling unit.
THE MEN IN CHARGE: Forbes Klemm (United) – “We’ve made the finals fairly consistently over the past six years and haven’t been able to go on with it, so hopefully, we can take our chance.
“We’ve got a fairly even side and don’t rely on just one or two people. We bat deep and have quite a few all-rounders, so we have plenty of options.
“We know West Bendigo won’t make it easy for us and will be very desperate. We’ve got a good rivalry with them and their batting will test our bowlers.”
Dion Prange (West Bendigo) – “We played United a couple of weeks ago and made a fairly good score (4-223) in what was an ordinary conditions match.
“We think we have a balanced team both with the batting and bowling, and everyone playing their role is going to be the key for us.
“It’s team efforts that win finals and that’s what we’ll be looking for.”
LUKE WEST’S VERDICT: United. Tossed a coin and it has come up Tigers in what’s a genuine 50-50 contest between two evenly-matched sides.
Both sides don’t have the flashest of finals records in recent years and there’s no love lost between them, but the Tigers to sneak over the line at home.