THE Ballarat Rd Milk Bar HDCA D grade competition has been rolling along well since the fixture change, but coming into the final round before the holidays, three teams threaten to break well clear of the rest.
This could be exacerbated today if results go the way the ladder expects, turning a 19 point separation into something like 30 … the near equivalent of four wins.
However, there are two matches which could open the ladder up appreciably if upsets can be found.
Can Pumas handle the turf?
THE grand final rematch between third placed Grampians and reigning premier Southern Grampians should be a lively affair, with the Southerners grimly holding onto fourth spot and under pressure from a host of would be finalists.
They face a big task, though, against the Pumas, who have been in blistering form, having not lost since the opening round, but while they have thumped around 500 more runs than any other D grade team to his point, it is worth remembering that they have had the benefit of playing all bar one of their games so far on the postage stamp Dunkeld School hard wicket oval.
Paul Kerber and young cubs Daniel Kerber and Lachie Field have had a run feast so far this season, but the turf wicket at Tarrington will be a different kettle of fish for the Pumas and it will be interesting to see how they react.
Good players can play on anything, but the nuances of turf can catch anyone out, especially those who haven’t played on it a lot and with the Southerners looking significantly better since the inclusions of Nathan and Jayden Ross in recent weeks, this could be a big danger game for Grampians.
Ducks in good form
HAMILTON will also be looking to upset a more highly fancied opponent today in Byaduk to potentially move into the four, but at Ducks Top Oval, it will be anything but easy.
Byaduk has only lost the once this year, by forfeit in Round One, and boasting five of the top 15 wicket takers in the competition and backed by some great form with the bat from Greg Holcombe, Will Kinghorn and Paul Donaghue, look at this stage at least, one of the favourites for this year’s title.
Hamilton, on the other hand, has rotated a lot of youngsters through the team, including Xave Stevens, who impressively introduced himself into the senior ranks by skittling the stumps of two of his rivals last week.
While good for the future of the club, it has meant that the three top scorers for the club this year have played a total of six matches between them and while Hamilton will give its all, how close it can get to a shock win will largely depend on which 11 players grace the field.
Full story in the Spectator on Saturday, December 21, 2013