Reigning premier Eaglehawk to release shackles in finals fight

EAGLEHAWK captain Cory Jacobs will implore his team to play with freedom in what’s now shaping as an uphill battle to make the BDCA finals.

UPHILL BATTLE: Eaglehawk captain Cory Jacobs. The Hawks are two games outside the top four.

UPHILL BATTLE: Eaglehawk captain Cory Jacobs. The Hawks are two games outside the top four.

The Hawks are staring at the prospect of becoming the first BDCA reigning premier since Strathfieldsaye in 2001-02 to miss the finals.

Having started the season shaping as the team to beat with the addition of Jeremy Brown and Shaun Knott, the Hawks begin the final three rounds of the season two games outside the top four.

“I think the situation we’re in might free us up a bit as a group because even if we do win our last three games, we’re still not guaranteed anything as far as making the finals,” Jacobs said.

“The message from me will be for the boys to just go out and play with a free mind and know that whatever will be, will be.

“Obviously, a lot of things have got to go right for us from here, but we’ll be giving it our best crack over these next three games.”

The Hawks return to the QEO for round 11 starting Saturday to take on ladder-leaders Strathdale, with their side to include 15-year-old batsman Ben Williams on debut.

Eaglehawk season results

Eaglehawk season results

“There’s no better yardstick than to play a team like Strathdale to see exactly where you’re at. It’s a good time to play them and if we could beat them then it would give us massive confidence going into the last couple of games,” Jacobs said.

The Hawks have been playing catch-up all season after they lost their first three games.

VETERAN: Eaglehawk wicket-keeper Matt Fitt has eight catches and one stumping for the season.

VETERAN: Eaglehawk wicket-keeper Matt Fitt has eight catches and one stumping for the season.

Three wins – which included plundering 404 against Bendigo United in round four – plus three weather-affected draws followed in their next six games, before their season hit another snag last match with a one-run loss to Bendigo.

Not having helped the cause either has been what has been happening pre-game at the toss of the coin, having won just one so far.

• BDCA round 11 games – Eaglehawk v Strathdale, Bendigo United v White Hills, Sandhurst v Bendigo, Strathfieldsaye v Huntly-North Epsom, Golden Square v Kangaroo Flat.

SHARP HANDS: Eaglehawk's Anthony West takes a one-handed slips catch against Kangaroo Flat earlier this season.

SHARP HANDS: Eaglehawk's Anthony West takes a one-handed slips catch against Kangaroo Flat earlier this season.

• Ladder

1 – Strathdale (46)

2 – Golden Square (45)

3 – Bendigo (42)

4 – Sandhurst (39)

5 – Kangaroo Flat (30)

6 – Eaglehawk (27)

7 – White Hills (21)

8 – Huntly-North (18)

9 – Strathfieldsaye (18)

10 – Bendigo United (12)