Top two sides do battle for first place honours

December 16, 2016

Justin Maley shot up the charts on the back of a 13-wicket haul against Waaia.

A pre-Christmas blockbuster dominates Murray Valley premier division cricket on Saturday.

Cobram and Barooga meet in a top-of-the-table battle at the Showgrounds, with a win for either side sealing first place going into the break.

The Tigers are low-flying, having strung together eight consecutive wins without a defeat this campaign.

You could argue Cobram’s strength is with the willow, headlined by the fact six of its batsmen are among the competition’s leading 15 run-scorers. Jim Daniel (272), Ash Saunders (249), Taylor Pugh (232), Manny Artavilla (227), Shaun Downie (212) and Adam Wiffen (213) form the backbone of a potent batting line-up.

But the Tigers are equally dangerous with the ball as Downie (23) and Pugh (21) are the two top-ranked bowlers.

Barooga has three and four, with Justin Maley (20) shooting up the charts on the back of a 13-wicket haul against Waaia.

South African all-rounder Riyaad Henry continues to illustrate the class which took him to first-class cricket in his homeland.

Henry (19 wickets at 12.32) is dynamite with the ball, but is also thriving as a batsman, highlighted by an average of 33.80 for the Hawks.

Andrew Reynoldson is in a vintage run of batting form, following up an unbeaten century with a stylish 81 last week.

Barooga’s ability to post two outright wins means the gap between it and Cobram is less than three points.

Not bad considering captain and usual run machine Kale Watkins has had just the three hits this campaign, making 62 runs at 20.7.

Nathalia will look to keep applying the pressure on the top two sides when it faces Waaia at home.

The defending premier has the services of gun duo Luke Carter (436 runs at 109) and Ash Quinn (376 runs at 94.0 along with eight wickets at 14.4).

The Bombers are on the rebound following a disappointing outright loss to Barooga last Saturday.

In other matches, Deniliquin Rhinos can further consolidate a top-four berth at home to CYU and Katamatite chases a third win on the bounce when it travels to take on struggling Finley.

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