THERE’S unlikely to be any respite for the battling West Bendigo in this weekend’s Saturday-Sunday round five of the Emu Valley Cricket Association.
The winless Redbacks must now confront the early-season pace-setter in top-of-the-ladder Golden Gully at Ken Wust Oval.
The Cobras promised plenty at the start of the season and are delivering, with their three wins so far all coming against opponents that were finalists last summer – Mandurang, Spring Gully and United.
Greg Thomas (205 runs) has already proven a vital acquisition with the bat for the Cobras, with three of his five innings so far having been half-centuries.
He’s one of five Cobras, along with Grant Le Poidevin (140 runs), Nathan Hamblin (114), Jeremy Rogerson (108) and Ash Gray (90), who have all passed 50 in an innings this season, but no-one has yet gone on to score a ton.
In contrast, the season has already been a tough slog for the Redbacks, with an outright loss to United, plus two other heavy defeats by 276 and 110 runs.
They did show some improved signs with the bat last round in making 173 and 5-113 against Maiden Gully, but mustering a winning total against the Cobras without Andrew Mead (139 runs) looks a mighty tough proposition.
Last time: Golden Gully 3-273 d West Bendigo 151 & 5-166.
Since 2008-09: Golden Gully 7; West Bendigo 3.
Tip: Golden Gully.
• Segwick will be aiming to pick up from where it left off three weeks ago when it returns from the bye to host Marong at Club Court.
The Rams won their opening two games against Emu Creek and Mandurang and did it by plundering scores of 7-330 and 9-289.
Veteran Andrew Sheehan has relished his move up the order for the Rams with a pair of scores of 133 and 92 in his first two hits, while the dangerous Matt Dwyer (51 and 55) has also made a solid start with the bat.
Marong will need to turn around a bitterly disappointing performance with the bat last week if it’s to offer a challenge to the Rams.
The Panthers were routed for just 95 by Spring Gully last week in an innings where they had been 9-52.
The Panthers need their batsmen to stand up and back up the bowling department, which has taken 30 wickets over their first two games, led by Duane Anderson and Ryan Murphy, who have seven each.
Last time: Sedgwick 223 d Marong 59 & 4-164.
Since 2008-09: Marong 7; Sedgwick 5.
• Mandurang and Emu Creek head into their clash at Pearce Reserve with just one win between them.
The Rangas won their opening game against West Bendigo, but have since lost their past two to Sedgwick and Golden Gully, despite making scores of 282 and 9-246.
Emu Creek is winless, although, it gave reigning premier United one heck of a fright last round in what was a one-run loss.
The Emus need a lift in their batting department, with their past two first innings totals just 141 and 148, while they have had only six scores above 30 – including three to Brad Rowe and two to Shane Hamilton – among the 38 wickets they have lost.
On the other hand, Mandurang needs more out of its bowling attack given its combined 528 runs over the past two rounds haven’t been enough to win either match against the Cobras or Rams.
The Rangas have the competition’s leading run-scorer in opener Matt Giri, who has made scores of 114, 94 and 69 for a total of 277, while he will also have fond memories of his game against the Emus last season when he cracked 135.
Last time: Mandurang 259 d Emu Creek 198.
Since 2008-09: Emu Creek 5; Mandurang 4.
• Maiden Gully and Spring Gully will both carry winning form into their clash at Villawood Oval.
Maiden Gully has won its past two games against West Bendigo and Emu Creek by a combined 244 runs, led by strong batting performances in which it has made scores of 8-283 and 9-282.
Captain Leon Beatty has made 155 runs in those two wins without being dismissed, while all-rounder Rob Brown has claimed 11 wickets with the ball to also play a leading role in the pair of victories.
Spring Gully won its opening game last round with a comfortable 96-run victory over Marong when the Crows successfully defended their score of 191.
Shaun Makepeace returns to the side to strengthen up the batting for the Crows, who haven’t lost to Maiden Gully since 2012-13.
This should be a competitive tussle between two of last season’s finalists that both again shape as top-four contenders.
Last time: Spring Gully 7-347 d Maiden Gully 9-195.
Since 2008-09: Spring Gully 8; Maiden Gully 1.
Tip: Spring Gully.
277 – M. Giri (Mand)
225 – A. Sheehan (Sedg)
205 – G. Thomas (GG)
188 – S. Hamilton (Emu)
175 – M. Pask (Mand)
172 – L. Beatty (MG)
14 – J. White (Utd)
12 – R. Brown (MG)
10 – G. Burns (MG)
9 – K. Nihill (Utd)
- 1 point per run, 20 points per wicket, 10 points per catch, 15 points per run out/stumping
404 – J. White (Utd)
392 – M. Giri (Mand)
328 – G. Singh (WB)
308 – R. Brown (MG)
275 – G. Thomas (GG)
240 – G. Le Poidevin (GG)
The Bendigo Advertiser’s deadline for EVCA MyCricket scores this weekend is 7.30pm Sunday.