Flat-track fail has Cats on the ropes

EFFORT BALL: Veteran Geelong City bowler Adam Marsland in action.

LOCAL CRICKET Jim Timberlake

With one game remaining before the Christmas break, Geelong Cricket Club’s season is on the line following its disastrous loss to Northcote last round.

The Cats entered day two with high hopes of winning, after a fantastic fightback the week prior. But on a flat track, the bowlers were unable to defend 273.

While Dom McGlinchey (4/95) put in a huge effort, the rest of the attacked struggled to break through, as Northcote cruised to a resounding five wicket win.

So with just a two day game against bottom-placed Kingston Hawthorn, to be played over the next two Saturdays before the break, the side must win, or lose almost all hope of making the finals.

Geelong Cricket Association’s first division also has a two day game scheduled, with the match of the round clearly being North Geelong hosting Lara.

While the Cats are going about their business nicely and are yet to lose a game, North Geelong have really started to put it all together, culminating in an outright win against Bell Post Hill last round.

Captain Tom Mathieson has been in sparkling form, claiming 17 wickets already, while Lachlan Hayes, Shaun Kingwell, Mitch Troy and Alistair McCann have all chipped in to form one of the more potent attacks in the competition.

Add to that Layton McCann, Sam Hall and Damian Vassiliou all making significant runs so far, and it’s easy to see why the Magpies are second on the table.

This test comes at just the right time for them, as they will be keen to prove they belong in the upper reaches of the ladder. Lara’s form has been impeccable, meaning the Cats deserve to start favourites, but only very narrowly.

Selections: EAST BELMONT v Leopold, St Josephs v GROVEDALE, North Geelong v LARA, Newtown & Chilwell v BELL POST HILL, South Barwon v MURGHEBOLUC

Division two plays their final round of one day matches for the season tomorrow, with the top two teams in each grade going through to next week’s one day finals.

The new concept introduced this season has been met with much positivity and, with an extra cup to play for, all clubs still in the mix will be eager to get their hands on some early silverware.

Bell Park is assured of playing in the First XI decider next week, but their opponent remains up in the air, as Geelong City and Marshall playing each other this week with the winner to progress.

Geelong City was widely expected to dominate division two this season, but has so far struggled to find any consistent form.

Marshall has proved that last year’s premiership was no fluke with some really solid cricket, so this game will be very tight.

Geelong City still look to have the better team on paper, with a bit more depth, and will start very narrow favourites tomorrow.

Selections: St Peters v BELL PARK, Torquay v MODEWARRE, GEELONG CITY v Marshall, HIGHTON v Manifold Heights

And in division three, Corio has moved into the top four after a strong win against Geelong West last week.

That position may well be short lived though, as the side plays ladder leader Newcomb & District in a two day game starting tomorrow.

Newcomb & District won an absolute thriller against Alexander Thomson last week, sneaking home by two runs.

While a close call, it might actually have been the best thing for Newcomb, as being pushed in close games always sees sides improve.

Having said that, Corio will view them as beatable, and will throw everything at them to prove it.

Selections: ALEXANDER THOMSON v Lethbridge, Corio v NEWCOMB & DISTRICT, ST ALBANS BREAKWATER v Guild Saints, Waurn Ponds Deakin v GEELONG WEST, BANNOCKBURN v Thomson.

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