TOP of the table Wauchope RSL is looking to cement its spot at the summit with a win over Camden Haven as the competition returns temporarily to the 40-over format on Saturday.
RSL is equal top with Macquarie Hotel on 49 points, and due to the back-log in the upper reaches of the table, needs a win to keep in touch.
Comboyne lurks in third place just three points behind. Then it’s Port City Leagues Magpies (43 points), Camden Haven (40 points) and Port Panthers Pirates (14).
The honours are shared between the two sides so far this season. Each team has had a win, and there’s been one wash-out.
RSL captain Brad Baxter has a full side of players to choose from for the first time this
Andrew Murrell is under an injury cloud though, with a calf problem.
Baxter said Murrell might get a rest this weekend to come good ahead of the two-dayers kicking off the following weekend.
Then it’s two-dayers all the way until the finals in early April.
Baxter said his team was more suited to playing one-day cricket, but he had the troops to do well in the longer format of the game.
Blake Larance leads the Hastings run-scorers this season.
“He’s only 17, and he’s doing a great job,” Baxter said.
Scott Mackedie and Chris Newbound are others who Baxter will look towards.
“The two-dayers suit him (Newbound) down to the ground,” he said. “He’ll bat all day.”
Before they start again though, Baxter must overcome a host of “dangerous” players in the Camden Haven side. Daniel Stone can hit a ball a long way, but Baxter said a couple of longer-serving Haven players also presented a threat.
“Sam and Nathan Kerr are dangerous,” he said.
In the other matches of the round, the Grant McMahon Shield rivalry – and the who has the longest team name battle – heats up again with Port City Leagues Magpies taking on Port Panthers Pirates at Oxley Oval, while Macquarie Hotel faces off against Comboyne at Wayne Richards Park.