HUNTLY-North Epsom is preparing for arguably its most significant 85 overs since it last played BDCA finals when it resumes its clash against Strathdale-Maristians on Saturday.
The Power can either take a massive leap towards their first finals appearance since 2011-12 and keep hold of second position, or potentially slip out of the top four – just as reigning premier Sandhurst did last round.
The Power will resume at 0-11 in reply to the Suns’ 161 at Bell Oval in what’s a clash between two of the four teams that are separated by just four points from second to fifth on the ladder.
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“The boys did a terrific job with the ball last week to be able to get through Strathdale for 160-odd on their home ground in trying conditions with the heat,” Power captain Elliott Massina said this week.
“We’re fully aware on Saturday though that we’re going back there against a really primed side that knows how to win the big games and that we’re going to have to bat really well to knock the runs over.
“With the way the ladder is at the moment, if we lose this game then there’s the chance we could fall to fifth, so in footy terms I suppose you’d say it’s an eight-point game.”
The Power continues to ride a wave of momentum, recovering from a 0-3 start to have since won six of their past seven games.
Their only loss over the past seven games was a four-wicket defeat to the Suns in a round nine one-dayer, also at Bell Oval.
“It’s the bowling that has been a real strength of ours this season, so this is a good opportunity for us batsmen to really stand up, but we know we’ll have to bat well,” Massina said.
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Opener Ryan Grundy (104 v Strathfieldsaye) is the only player with a ton for the Power this season.
The batting line-up also features recruit Danushka Wijemanna, who has four scores above 50 in his 357 runs, while Massina – who has 170 runs for the season – is confident a big score is just around the corner for all-rounder Adam Ward.
“The bloke who I reckon is really primed to get a big score is Wardy with the way he is hitting the ball in the nets,” Massina said.
“At the moment I think he’s trying to get a hundred in 60 balls rather than 120 balls. If he can get himself in then I think there’s a big score waiting for him.”
Massina and Grundy, who are both five not out, will continue the Power innings on Saturday,
• BDCA round 11 state of play – White Hills 4-352 v Strathfieldsaye 0-16; Sandhurst v Bendigo United 212; Strathdale-Maristians 161 v Huntly-North Epsom 0-11; Eaglehawk 9-209 v Bendigo; Golden Square v Kangaroo Flat 197.
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