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Saints set sights on second spot in Grampians cricket

Grampians cricket resumes on Saturday after an extended Christmas break, with the major match being between third-placed St Andrews and second-placed Youth Club in a two-day fixture at Alexandra Oval, Ararat. 

A win to either team is vital at this stage of the season.

If the Saints win, they will replace Youth Club in second spot, while a win to the Clubbers will see them keep in touch with leader Swifts-Great Western. 

The Saints and Clubbers have not yet faced off, as an earlier one-day round was cancelled due to wet weather. 

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Both teams had very good wins prior to the break, the Saints outrighted Chalambar, while the Clubbers chased down a good score while losing just one wicket. 

The key to this match is probably the form of leading run-scorer and skipper Nic Baird. If he fires, the Saints are in trouble, if he fails, then it falls upon lesser batsmen Damon Folkes, Bailey Taylor and Jarrod Illig to post a competitive score. 

The Saints’ two strike bowlers, Tom Mills and Ned Bohner, will target Baird in the hope of dismissing him cheaply, and then pressure the remaining batting line-up. 

The addition of all-rounder Adam Haslett to the Saints will give the team a boost. 

The Saints will be hoping Clubbers bowlers Cam Kimber, Folkes and Clinton Slorach have an off day and allow Mills, Bohner and Michael Harricks to post a big score. 

At Stawell’s Central Park, Halls Gap hosts Pomonal, a match in which both teams would fancy their chances, although their recent form is average. 

Halls Gap fell to the Combine in just one day, while Pomonal only managed to take one wicket against the Clubbers. 

Pomonal has more to gain from this match as a loss will see its finals spot in jeopardy. 

The Tigers will look to proven performers Lynden Brewis, Michael Armstrong and young Lachy Dalkin to get them over the line, whereas the Gappers will rely on Josh Leith and Joe Martin with the bat, and Josh Reid and Brian Driscoll with the ball. 

In the remaining game, Chalambar takes on leader Swifts-Great Western at Gordon Street Oval, Ararat. 

Chalambar’s bowling has lacked penetration this season with only Chad Gilmour and Mathew McKinnis worrying batsmen. 

This will be a big concern against the Combine’s long batting line-up, which includes form players Sam Cocks and Tom Eckel among other capable batsmen. Throw in the association’s leading wicket takers Matt Heffer and Lachlan Patching and it makes for a tough ask of Chally batsmen Luke Walker, Ryan Bertram and Sam Pilgrim to post a winning score.

The entire January 15, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!