REIGNING Emu Valley Cricket Association premier Emu Creek welcomes the challenge of re-starting its season against one of the competition pace-setters, Spring Gully, on Saturday.
The EVCA resumes on Saturday following a three-week mid-season break - the first two weeks being over the Christmas-New Year period, while last weekend's round was abandoned due to the impact of COVID cases within the league.
On Monday night the EVCA board announced the resumption of the season this Saturday, with the match of the round the clash between Emu Creek and Spring Gully at JG Edwards Oval.
The Emus re-start their season in fifth position, half-a-game outside the top four with a 3-2-1 record and determined to begin to build some momentum, starting with a big test against the second-placed Crows.
"It's a huge game for us on Saturday, no doubt," Emu Creek captain Simon Marwood said on Thursday.
"We've had a lot of ins and outs this season, which has made it a bit tougher, but I still think we've been alright so far.
"Spring Gully is looking like being one of the sides to beat, so we obviously want to go out there on Saturday and give them a real good run for their money."
The Emus have already used 21 players in their division one side over the five games they have played so far, with Marwood anticipating there still to be regular changes from week-to-week over the remainder of the season.
"We'll have Todd Brown out for a couple of weeks while he's in Adelade and Tigga (Tyrone Downie) will be out for a lot of February because he's getting married, so I still think we'll have a lot of ins and outs each week," Marwood said.
"We'll just keep battling away to try and get ourselves into that top four and give ourselves a chance."
The looming unavailability of Brown will leave a big hole in the Emus' batting line-up.
Brown is second on the EVCA run-scorers with 252 behind only United's Alex Code (312), with the all-rounder's four trips to the crease having yielded scores of 69, 93, 40 and 50.
"Todd has been really good this season; it just means someone else has to stand up over these next couple of games, but we've got enough good players who can do it," Marwood said.
"The boys are super keen to get going again... we were all really keen to start back last week, so that was disappointing that we didn't."
Axe Creek v California Gully
Mandurang v West Bendigo
United v Sedgwick
Emu Creek v Spring Gully
Games start at 1pm.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: