Stakes high for finals berths

Taj StubberAlbany Advertiser
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Royals’ captain Mitch Green and vice-captain Matt Wolfe get ready for Pink Stumps Day.
Camera IconRoyals’ captain Mitch Green and vice-captain Matt Wolfe get ready for Pink Stumps Day. Credit: Laurie Benson

Two sides with contrasting form, Collingwood Park and Royals, will meet in a crucial penultimate round of the Albany and Districts Cricket Association A-grade competition on Saturday as the race for third and fourth place remains alive between three teams.

Park and the Lions will meet at Turf East in round 14 in a pivotal clash for their respective finals hopes given the fifth-placed Mt Barker can still force their way into the top four.

The fourth-placed Lions have lost their past three games, putting up a couple of poor batting performances, while Park are the most in-form team of the competition after winning five of their last six games to sit in third place.

The Bulls must win their fixture on Saturday against reigning premiers Railways to keep their slim finals hopes alive, currently nine points behind the Lions and 12 points adrift of Park.

The match will also double as Pink Stumps Day for the Lions, partnering with the McGrath Foundation to raise money for breast cancer.

Returning captain Mitch Green said his side’s form had simply not been good enough.

“Obviously it’s a big game this weekend, we have been in some ordinary form lately but we really want to turn things around and lock away that third spot,” Green said.

Royals’ captain Mitch Green and vice-captain Matt Wolfe.
Camera IconRoyals’ captain Mitch Green and vice-captain Matt Wolfe. Credit: Laurie Benson

“We will be near full strength this weekend for the first time since just before Christmas.

“I think we have posted 40, 60 and 90 in three recent innings so hopefully we can put together some partnerships and post a big score which will go a long way to winning.”

Green missed last week’s loss to the Tigers and fellow opener Digby Nuthall will also return while Park welcome back destructive batsmen Nathan Dovey and middle-order batsman Leroy van den Dool.

Park skipper Matt Heberle said victory was crucial to secure a finals place.

“It’s a huge one for us to try and lock away finals and finish as high as possible on the ladder,” he said.

“We found some form against Denmark after being a bit flat against Railways a fortnight ago.

In the other fixture, ladder leaders Manypeaks will look to lock away the minor premiership when they face the winless Denmark at Turf South.

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