Cats’ first XI in chance to ‘declare arrival’

ON THE BALL: North Geelong's Tom Mathieson will be crucial with the ball this weekend after 25 runs last week.

Cricket, by Jim Timberlake

Geelong Cricket Club appears to have the upper-hand in its match against Melbourne University after a tightly contested first day.

Geelong was asked to bat first on a wicket that looked it might assist the bowlers. And so it proved as the top order was skittled in quick time to find the side at a dangerous 6/44.

But stand-in skipper Tim Ludeman got things back on track with a fighting 53 off just 62 balls. He found good support from Jake Reed (37), Angus Boyd (24) and Dom McGlinchey (24) to see the Cats post a competitive 188.

With 31 overs still to play to complete day one, the Geelong bowlers relished the chance to bowl on the same wicket, reducing their hosts to 5/57 at stumps.

Reed and Mcglinchey both took two wickets, while Brody Couch also snared one.

With 132 still to get this weekend, Melbourne Uni will look to consolidate early, while early wickets could set the Cats on the path for a win that would declare they have arrived as a genuine threat this season.

In Geelong Cricket Association, North Geelong might have pulled its season back from the brink of disaster in a must-win game against Newtown & Chilwell.

Batting first at Osborne Park, the Magpies’ top order put in a determined effort that helped the side to a healthy 6/286.

Layton McCann (91) top-scored batting at number three, while Andrew Fergusson (68) and Lachlan Vivian (31) did their bit.

This will be a good test for the Two Blues. Their batting has been very solid so far this campaign but if they really want to show they belong at the top of the table they need to get these runs on Saturday.

On the flipside, bowlers of the calibre of Tom Mathieson and Shaun Kingwell aren’t an easy prospect at the best of times and should ensure North Geelong gets its first win of the season.

In division two, Highton has a very good chance to upset premiership favourite Bell Park on Saturday.

The Dragons never got going with the bat last week, although 57 to Jamie Spiller suggests he did his bit because his side could only manage 193.

For the Heat, young leg spinner Brady Somers starred, taking 5/50 as he decimated Bell Park’s lower order.

Highton faced 10 overs to finish the first day’s play, and managed to reduce the deficit by 15 runs, most importantly without the loss of any wickets.

The first hour will be crucial tomorrow as both sides feel each other out to see who will crack first, although it would appear Highton looks like taking the points.

And in division three, Teesdale will have to be at its absolute best in the field on the weekend as it seeks to defend 162.

The Roos’ top order had a bad day last week, falling to 7/92 at one stage. However, Bryce McDonald (55) and Sam Campbell (28) steadied the ship to at least see their side post a reasonable score.

Modewarre has already wiped 29 from the target and, despite losing import Jake Hooson cheaply on the stroke of stumps last week, will still be the strong favourite to take the points this Saturday.

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