TIME is running out for four of the six teams in the Hamilton District Junior Cricket Association’s Under 14 competition as they dance around a set of three chairs for a spot in this season’s finals.
It would take a monumental collapse of all form for Southern Pumas to drop out of the four, while for winless Balmoral United, two matches and a catch-up game could all yield wins and it couldn’t make the four now.
This leaves College, Hamilton, St Andrew’s and St Mary’s to fight for the remaining spots available, although one win out of three will probably be enough for the Eagles and Hamilton.
Southern Pumas – 1st 40pts
ON paper the Pumas are the clear team to beat from what we’ve seen so far.
They have scored nearly 250 runs more than any other team, which equates to around 40 runs extra per match, and have taken up to 24 more wickets than their opponents while conceding 70 less runs than its nearest rival and a whopping 498 less than last placed Balmoral United.
Those are some big numbers at Under 14 level and although they have been beaten once, it would be a big surprise if the Pumas don’t make it at least to grand final day with perhaps any overconfidence the biggest barrier.
Of the eight players to have made 100-plus runs for the season, the Pumas have four in Lachie Field, Ryan Burgess, Daniel Kerber and Josh Mawson, plus Sam Lambevski, who is on 99, and Field having only gone out once is averaging 176 at the moment!
It’s a similar story with the bowling, where the Pumas have three of the top four wicket takers with hat-trick taker Field, Jack Kruger and Mawson, while also having Dylan Mooney and Jack Stickland inside the top 10.
They are not only favourites, but will also have a say in how the rest of the four is shaped, with two games against St Andrew’s and another against College before finals.
College – 2nd 32pts
THE Pumas may be favourites, but one team which won’t be too scared of them is the Eagles, with the score at 1-1 between them after finding a way to restrict the Pumas to 78 in a one-day clash back in October.
The Eagles have tricky assignments in Hamilton and Southern Pumas on resumption and needs to win at least one of those to go along with an expected win over Balmoral in the final round to try and earn a home semi-final by finishing second.
Campbell Watt is the only batsman to have reached 100 runs yet, but he has plenty of support in Charlie Summers, Kyle Smitten, Rohan Madan and James Edmonds when available to form a solid batting unit.
Smitten leads the bowling figures with eight wickets and a hat-trick to his credit, but Watt, Lachie Holcombe, Riley Alexander, Zac Cunningham and Tane Kawau have all taken their fair share as well as part of a well rounded side.
The Eagles have a habit of getting the job done and will be a tough nut to crack once finals start in March.
Hamilton – 3rd 32pts
HAMILTON’S only losses have been to the two teams above it and with a favourable draw could quite easily sneak into second spot by the end of the season.
Full story in the Spectator on Tuesday, January 7, 2014