LOCAL CRICKET Jim Timberlake
Geelong Cricket Club resumes its season on Saturday after a Christmas break that would have seen the players reflecting ruefully on a narrow loss on 22 December.
In pursuit of Northcote’s competitive 8/259, the Cats appeared to be cruising when they reached 2/164 in reply.
However, despite a magnificent 107 from debutante Tom Jackson, and 76 to Eammon Vines, the lower order was unable to see them home, falling an agonising 4 runs short of their target.
The loss could prove to be extra costly, as the side now has to travel to Schramms Reserve on Saturday to play top side Fitzroy Doncaster in a one day clash.
The Cats simply must bounce back if they don’t want to throw away what was a very promising first half of the season.
Geelong Cricket Association also resumes with a round of one-day games, and in division one it’s shaping to be one of the most exciting seasons in a long time.
While East Belmont sits comfortably on top with six wins from seven games, Newtown and Chilwell still sit in second place despite being thrashed by East Belmont just prior to Christmas.
However, the rest of the ladder is extremely tight, with third-placed Grovedale only two wins clear of bottom-placed Bell Post Hill, meaning that all teams are well and truly still in the hunt for finals action.
Therefore, with just six games remaining, there will be plenty of cutthroat games where teams are fighting for survival, and the first one of those is when Bell Post Hill takes on North Geelong.
Both teams have been competitive at times, but just haven’t been able to grab some of those crucial moments that can make the difference.
Bell Post Hill’s bowling has been OK but they simply haven’t made enough runs, with their batting total the worst in the competition by far.
North Geelong, on the other hand, have struggled to maintain control with the ball with their runs-against column looking quite high.
So this game will depend on which side can find a more even balance between bat and ball, and perhaps rely on a more even contribution from their entire team.
On paper, North Geelong appears more likely to make that happen.
Selections in bold: South Barwon v LARA, St Joseph’s v GROVEDALE, Bell Post Hill v NORTH GEELONG, EAST BELMONT v Geelong City, Leopold v NEWTOWN & CHILWELL.
In division two, the ladder is slowly taking shape, and it’s Thomson who find themselves starting to lose touch with the top sides.
They are two wins outside the top four, and face the tough ask of playing top side Torquay this round.
Thomson simply must find a way to win their first game since round three, otherwise any hope of finals action would seem very distant.
Torquay, on the other hand, have been ultra-consistent all season, not losing since round one. Their star-studded line up will be keen to keep that momentum going and should win here.
Selections in bold: HIGHTON v St Peters, Manifold Heights v BELL PARK, Marshall v MURGHEBOLUC, Thomson v TORQUAY.