Top-tier newcomers’ clash decisive
Mt Barker can take a step towards qualifying for their maiden finals appearance in the Albany Cricket Association A-grade competition if they can beat fellow finals aspirants Royals on Saturday.
Both newcomers to the top tier this season, their clash at Turf East is likely to play a major part in shaping the top four with eight rounds remaining.
Only five points separate fourth-placed North County (25 points) from bottom-placed Royals (20), who dropped to last after their loss to Manypeaks last Saturday.
But the Lions remain only one win away from jumping back into top-four contention.
Their task will be made easier, with the Bulls set to be without paceman Jacob Wintle and all-rounder Tim Fitzgerald.
Wintle, with 17 wickets during the competition at an average of only 7.47, rattled through the Lions’ top order with Fitzgerald in their last encounter.
Bulls captain Jeremy Wood said the outcome of the match would have a big bearing on the top four in the short and long term.
“It’s a pretty important game for both teams going on where we are respectively on the ladder,” he said. “I think every game for every club is pretty important in the next month.
“We are pretty excited about where we can finish.”
Royals will bolster their batting depth for the clash, with Matt Wolfe and wicketkeeper Scott Worsfold set to return.
North County will be desperate to retain their place in the top four, with clashes against Denmark and Collingwood Park this weekend.
The Magpies could leapfrog the Bulldogs on Saturday with a win while Park’s resurgence from a slow start could continue to gather momentum on Sunday.
In the other encounter, Manypeaks can strengthen their top-two hopes if they can defeat Railways at Turf West.
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