THIRD, fourth and fifth have plenty to play for as the first-grade clubs take to the field for one more one-dayer of the season this weekend.
Things are tight between the three, with less than three points separating third-placed Port Panthers Pirates, Wauchope RSL and Comboyne.
Wauchope RSL and Comboyne sit on 56.2 points, while the Pirates have their noses in front, on 55.
A win for them on the weekend against Camden Haven becomes even more crucial.
Captain Paul Stait wanted to wrap up a win ahead of the Pirates’ last match, against Macquarie Hotel, which starts the following weekend.
Third place gets a home-ground advantage in the semi against fourth, and the added comfort of going through if the match is washed out.
“So it’s a must-win,” Stait said.
He knows Camden Haven, despite its cellar-dweller status, will provide stiff competition.
“They’re last, but they’re never easy to beat,” he said.
“All the games we’ve played against them have been pretty close.”
A win is similarly important for Comboyne and Wauchope, who face off against each other at Andrews Park.
Comboyne captain Andrew Glover had the luxury of picking in-form spinner Bill Newell for the match.
Newell can be crucial to drying up the runs at the back end of the innings.
Glover said he would almost certainly come into play at Wauchope.
“It always seems to turn,” Glover said.
Wauchope captain Mark Fog will miss batsman Kyle Mann, who is out due to work commitments, but Andrew Julian will provide an ample replacement.
“He’s been away for three games,” Fog said of Julian.
“We don’t lose anything there. It’s a like for like swap.”
The two teams in the top four not fighting for survival this weekend are Macquarie Hotel and Port City Leagues Magpies, who will face off against each other at Oxley Oval.
Michael Pelley’s Macquarie Hotel will miss Englishman Ross Fensome, who has headed back to the Old Dart at short notice.
Fensome left on Tuesday.
“It was a bit of a shock,” Pelley said.
Apart from Fensome’s departure, the team will be at full-strength.
“As far as I know, it’s all fine,” Pelley said.