The Haisman Shield minor premiership is on the line this weekend with Katandra’s clash against Numurkah precariously poised heading into day two.
The Eagles excelled with the ball to knock their opponents over for 118, but lost three wickets in a tense 24-over stint to close the day, 3-38 at stumps with plenty left to play for.
Both sides have 54 points with not only top spot on the ladder on the line, but the double chance that comes with it in finals.
‘‘It’s one of those games that is pretty much a final and that’s the way we’re treating it,’’ Katandra skipper Jedd Wright said.
‘‘We’re really looking forward to it; it’s a big challenge and if the pitch is similar to last week, it will be a hard slog.’’
The Eagles lost three early wickets, but the steady hands of Luke Nolan (11 not out) and Wright (12 not out) got them through to stumps with seven wickets still in the sheds.
Their partnership shapes as the key; if the duo that has a combined 657 runs this season can avoid an early wicket, they should be able to chase down the target.
‘‘Obviously we’d rather be no wickets down, but we know we’ve still got good bats to come, and one or two good partnerships should be enough to get us the win,’’ Wright said.
‘‘It’s going to be important to rotate the strike and make sure we put away the loose balls.’’
Doing their best to stop them though will be Numurkah’s bowlers, led by captain Liam Gledhill, whose two wickets late on day one got his side right back into the contest.
‘‘They’re a really good bowling team, they’ve got good quicks, but with the pitch like it was, I’d imagine it will mainly be the spinners bowling,’’ Wright said.
As Wright suggested, spinners Gledhill and Shaun Downie loom as the danger men on a pitch that had plenty of turn in it last weekend.
They have been in stellar form this season, each taking 19 wickets with Gledhill averaging 10.8 and Downie even better at 9.5.
But there is quality through the Blues’ bowling line-up, with Matthew Cline and Tim Braybon important through the season.
Numurkah has been the Haisman Shield’s form side for much of the season, undefeated since its round three loss to Katandra.