Preview of round four of the Bendigo District Cricket Association season.
WHITE HILLS v BENDIGO
WHITE HILLS (2nd, 2-1) – Four weeks ago there’s no way anyone would have thought the Demons and the Goers would be the top two teams heading into round four.
White Hills has chased down scores of 250-plus the past two games on the back of brilliant centuries from Gavin Bowles and Ryan Grundy.
To be a consistent threat the Demons now need their bowlers to step up and restrict teams to scores of less than 230. That cause hasn’t been helped this week by the unavailability of opening bowler Rhys Irwin.
BENDIGO (1st, 3-0) – confidence is sky high at the Goers. They keep finding a way to win.
The highly-publicised Kyle Humphries is proving just as valuable with the ball as he is with the bat.
After two centuries in the first two games, his four-wicket haul last week was crucial in the win over the Roos.
The Goers will be hoping to dismiss their Demon nemesis Mitch Winter-Irving cheaply.
The White Hills skipper has made two centuries in the past three matches against Bendigo.
Last time: White Hills 285 d Bendigo 220.
Since 2000: Bendigo 13, White Hills 11.
Selection: White Hills.
STRATHDALE-MARISTIANS v SANDHURST
STRATHDALE (3rd, 2-1) – Star all-rounder Cam Taylor is under an injury cloud after retiring hurt in the T20 match midweek.
Taylor has taken 14 wickets in the past two games with his leg-spinners and his middle-order batting is vital. If he doesn’t play, or he is not 100 per cent fit, that could be enough to turn the game in Sandhurst’s favour.
Skipper Ben DeAraugo will chase a third-straight century against the club he plundered an unbeaten 159 two seasons ago.
Young gun James Vlaeminck continues to prosper at the top of the Strathdale batting order.
SANDHURST (5th, 2-1) – After two impressive wins to start the season, the Dragons maybe got ahead of themselves last week and paid the price against White Hills.
No better way to bounce back than to defeat the powerful Strathdale side on its home turf.
Opener Nayana Palamandadige has been one of the recruits of the season so far with 158 runs in three hits.
With spinner Sam Sperling sidelined, the Dragons have added an extra quick bowler to their side with teenager Nick Gladman to play his first first XI game of the season.
Last time: Sandhurst 131 d Strathdale 130.
Since 2000: Strathdale 16, Sandhurst 3.
EAGLEHAWK v BENDIGO UNITED
EAGLEHAWK (10th, 0-3) – horror start for the reigning premiers, but the return of some heavy artillery make them a pronounced favourite against the Redbacks.
Dyanmic duo Richard Tibbett and Shaun Knott are back to share the new ball and skipper Cory Jacobs returns.
The Hawks have a plethora of bowling options, with keeper Matt Fitt the only player in the 11 who doesn’t bowl.
Batting is the Borough’s biggest problem. The Hawks are yet to post a score above 190 this season.
BENDIGO UNITED (8th, 1-2) – great team effort to get the points over the Power last weekend.
The Redbacks will need a similar effort this round, particularly with skipper and star all-rounder Leigh McDermott out of the side.
Harry Donegan will captain the Redbacks for the first time. Spinner Jake Thrum has relished the opportunity to get the ball in his hands and he’ll play a key role against the Hawks’ brittle batting line-up.
Last time: Eaglehawk 7-159 d Bendigo United 158.
Since 2000: Bendigo United 12, Eaglehawk 11.
KANGAROO FLAT v HUNTLY-NORTH EPSOM
KANGAROO FLAT (6th, 1-2) – indifferent start to the season for the Roos. Belted Strathdale in round one before losing two-straight to Sandhurst and Bendigo.
The Roos have a strong bowling attack – they bowled the Power out for 83 and 95 in two games last year - but their fortunes will rest on their top-order batsmen.
They were on track to win against Bendigo until they lost 3-5 mid-innings to put the pressure on their lower-order.
HUNTLY-NORTH EPSOM (7th, 1-2) – the Power had expectations to make the top four on the back of recruiting batsmen Russell de Groot and Josh Collinson.
Collinson has been solid, but de Groot is yet to play because of injury.
With a 1-2 record and games to come against White Hills and two against Strathdale before Christmas, the clash with the Roos is crucial for the Power.
Last time: Kangaroo Flat 9-222 d Huntly-North Epsom 95.
Since 2000: Kangaroo Flat 16, Huntly-North Epsom 4.
Selection: Kangaroo Flat.
GOLDEN SQUARE v STRATHFIELDSAYE
GOLDEN SQUARE (4th, 2-1) – the Dogs have had a disjointed start through player unavailability, but with a 2-1 record and a good draw leading into Christmas they’re well placed to set up their season.
Star recruit Ben Gunn is yet to fire and he’d loving nothing more than post a big score against one of his former clubs. Scott Trollope returns to action for the Dogs to add some class and firepower with bat and ball.
STRATHFIELDSAYE (9th, 1-2) – Ben Devanny must have sore shoulders. The Jets’ skipper has carried his side in the first three rounds.
The all-rounder has scored 274 runs at an average of 137 – next best is Greg Lyon with 77 runs.
If the remainder of the top-order doesn’t start to hit form then the Jets are in for a very long summer.
Last time: Golden Square 8-252 d Strathfieldsaye 8-233.
Since 2000: Strathfieldsaye 16, Golden Square 4.
Selection: Golden Square.