SANDHURST will be aiming to successfully defend a score for the third game in a row, while Kangaroo Flat will be striving to chase down a target also for the third-straight match when their Bendigo District Cricket Association clash continues on Saturday.
The Roos and Dragons are the only two unbeaten teams in the BDCA, with the winner to take a major step in their quest to be part of finals action come March.
The Dragons – who have played finals just once since 1986-87 – have a score of 205 to defend at Kangaroo Flat’s Champions IGA Oval.
It’s a score that has both pros and cons for the Dragons, who recovered from 3-21 early last week.
Yet, they also got themselves in a position to push towards 240 when they had progressed to 6-193, before losing 4-12 to be bowled out with 21 balls still left unfaced in their innings.
The Dragons head into Saturday’s defence of their total having dismissed Eaglehawk for 143 and Strathdale-Maristians for 130 – both of last season’s grand finalists – bowling second in their previous two games.
“Getting Taylor Beard in this year, it has given us a bit of extra penetration when the wicket has been seaming around, but I still think the spinners are going to play a fairly crucial role on Saturday,” Sandhurst captain Craig Howard said.
“We think the wicket will spin as well as seam, so we won’t shy away too much from what we do best… hopefully, we can build some run-rate pressure, field well and hold our catches and if we do that, it will go a long way towards, hopefully, getting a win.”
The Dragons will test the Roos with their three-pronged spin attack of Howard, Sam Sperling and Zen Malik, as well as the trio of Taylor Beard, Rhys Smith and Eli Bowe, who could all be a handful if the wicket seams.
The emerging Roos have made scores of 227 and 6-277 batting second in wins over Strathdale-Maristians and Strathfieldsaye the past two rounds.
Both clubs have a rare chance to win four games in a row – the Dragons haven’t done it since 1986-87; the Roos since 2007-08.
• BDCA round five state of play:
Golden Square 8-252 (S. Johnson 69, Trollope 53, Bysouth 35, Wood 30, Higgins 28; Cullen 3-45, C. Devanny 2-51, Rinaldi 2-56) v Strathfieldsaye;
Huntly North Epsom 128 (B. McRae 43, Cruickshank 25; Taylor 5-49, J. Dearaugo 3-19, Johnston 2-25) v Strathdale Maristians 0-2;
Kangaroo Flat v Sandhurst 205 (Beard 46, Schneider 45, Howard 39; Gibson 4-16, Hamblin 3-47);
White Hills v Bendigo United 9-252 (Crawford 61, McDermott 48, Stewart 40*, Gunn 31, Di Fede 28; Irwin 4-75, Jacobs 2-44);
Bendigo 4-43 (Smith 4-8) v Eaglehawk 116 (Murdoch 34, Jacobs 30; Fitzpatrick 8-29).
Meanwhile, the BDCA Challenge also continues on Saturday, with Ozzie’s Outlaws holding the upper hand halfway through round five.
Ozzie – 441
Westy – 403
Bourkey – 229
Lucky Stew – 140