Record: 1st, 46 points.
Run home: Bye, Euroa (H), Northerners (A), Waaia (H).
Lightfoot contenders: The Eagles are flush with superstar performers, and the likes of co-captains Luke Nolan and Jedd Wright — as well as Andrew Riordan and Corey Hickford — will poll well on Cricket Shepparton’s night of nights. Wright’s 15 wickets at 16.33 and 287 runs at 41 will most likely have him ahead of his teammates, but he is no certainty to poll maximum votes for his round eight heroics — where he took a hat-trick, made 51 from 25 and finished with match figures of 7-62 — due to Riordan’s sparkling 106 and Hickford’s 9-64.
Prediction — First: Katandra will bank six points this round, as well as head into clashes against Euroa and Waaia as a red-hot favourite. Even if the defending champion falls to the Northerners, it will cling on to top spot.
CENTRAL PARK-ST BRENDAN’S
Record: 2nd, 46 points.
Run home: Northerners (H), Shepparton United (H), Waaia (A), Euroa (A).
Lightfoot contenders: It has been a season of even contributions for the Tigers, with plenty of votes set to be awarded to the outfit — but no specific standout putting their hand up at this stage. It means a couple of three-vote performances in the run home could set a star apart though, with Rhiley Lau (250 runs at 35.71), Aidan Lloyd (14 wickets at 15.21) and Connor Hayes (221 at 36.83 and 12 at 17.5) among the stronger chances.
Prediction — Second: Central Park-St Brendan’s can push for top spot with four wins from its last four outings, but may still fall short if Katandra does not slip up. Either way the Tigers will land in the top two and be there when the whips are cracking once more.
Record: 3rd, 42 points.
Run home: Euroa (A), Old Students (H), Shepparton United (H), Tatura (A).
Lightfoot contenders: While reigning winner Liam Gledhill will poll votes again, Numurkah’s standout this season has clearly been import Michael Eckard. The all-rounder leads all comers for wickets taken this summer with 21 at 11, while also notching a pair of half-centuries on his way to 186 runs at 37.2. Look for the match-winner to have at least nine votes by this stage of the count.
Prediction — Third: The Blues will not catch the top two sides unless they secure at least one outright in the final four rounds, but can still do plenty of damage from third spot on the table. Will want to put in a more dominant performance this round than they did last time out against Waaia though to generate more momentum.
Record: 4th, 39 points.
Run home: Tatura (A), Bye, Old Students (H), Mooroopna (A).
Lightfoot contenders: Two names stand out for Nagambie when looking through this season’s best performers — Mark Nolan and Kyle Winter-Irving. Captain ‘‘Barney’’ has 13 wickets at 12.77 for the summer, but has stamped his authority with the bat this season — racking up 383 runs at 47.88 with one century and two half-centuries. Winter-Irving has also been handy with the stick (178 runs at 25.43) and taken 17 poles at 13.94.
Prediction — Fourth: Another outfit which could head into finals without dropping another game, the Lakers have been outstanding in their first Cricket Shepparton campaign. Could prove the dark horses in the finals race, but a likely first-up contest against Numurkah could prove too tough.
Record: 5th, 36 points.
Run home: Mooroopna (A), Numurkah (A), Nagambie (A), Kyabram (A).
Lightfoot contenders: There are a number of Students who could lay claim to a top-10 finish in the Lightfoot count this season. Co-coach Felix Odell has two centuries and a 93 to his name this campaign, almost sewing up nine votes immediately. Gino Saracino has ditched the white floppy and not looked back, scoring 331 runs at 55.17. Nick Breslin has also been in fine touch with 236 at 29.5 and 11 wickets at 21.73.
Prediction — Sixth: The Students will be helped by their penchant for big scores, with percentage possibly deciding positions six through eight. All the side would need to do to avoid that ruck would be to snare two victories in the run home though — something it is certainly capable of doing despite a hard draw.
Record: 6th, 33 points.
Run home: Central Park-St Brendan’s (A), Waaia (A), Katandra (H), Bye.
Lightfoot contenders: The Brett brothers have put their names in lights this season. Joel leads the runs tally with 419 at 52.38 — helped by back-to-back tons — while Mitch has 239 at 26.56 as well as 12 wickets at 16.33. Trent Sidebottom has also been impressive with 14 wickets at 19.14.
Prediction — Fifth: Even if the Jets fall to the Tigers and Eagles, they should defeat the Bombers in the penultimate round before banking a certain six points while everyone else battles for survival.
Record: 7th, 30 points.
Run home: Kyabram (H), Central Park-St Brendan’s (A), Numurkah (A), Karramomus (H).
Lightfoot contenders: Dwain Vidler, Sam Kershaw, Chris Rendina and Sam Nash could all count themselves among the contenders for Lightfoot votes. Vidler’s 15 wickets at 11.67 and 198 runs at at 28.29 have stood out, as has Kershaw’s 331 runs at 47.29.
Prediction — Seventh: United must either boost its percentage while snaring two wins in its last four matches or win three of them to sneak into finals. Defeating Kyabram and Karramomus on the run home must be ticked off, while revenge against the Tigers for a one-day final loss is also on the agenda.
Record: 8th, 27 points.
Run home: Shepparton United (A), Mooroopna (H), Tatura (H), Old Students (H).
Lightfoot contenders: The Redbacks would have to win a few more games to have any serious contenders, but Charlie and Jackson McLay are high on the wicket-taker’s list. The former has 19 wickets at 11.21 — almost identical figures to the latter (19 at 11.42).
Prediction — 10th: Kyabram’s draw can go one of two ways — either the Redbacks will go close to four wins from four matches or they will struggle to find more points for the remainder of the summer. If they go 2-2 it will not be enough, so they must push the pace at every chance.
Record: 9th, 24 points.
Run home: Nagambie (H), Karramomus (A), Kyabram (A), Numurkah (H).
Lightfoot contenders: Mat Cornwall has had a consistent season with the bat, making two half-centuries on his way to 225 runs at 37.5. Michael Archer (15 wickets at 22.4) and Armstrong brothers Blake (14 at 11.43) and Jayden (13 at 19) have also impressed.
Prediction — Eighth: A lack of percentage is likely to keep Tatura from back-to-back finals appearances, but no matter what the side’s season goes on the line in the upcoming round against Nagambie. If the Lakers can be conquered at Howley Oval, Tatura will live to fight for a few more days of cricket in this campaign.
Record: 10th, 21 points.
Run home: Old Students (H), Kyabram (A), Bye, Nagambie (H).
Lightfoot contenders: Will Hale has to be considered — both for what he has done and what he could do this season. The English import has 281 runs at 56.2, and if he reels off any more centuries will be right in contention. Brodie McDonald (281 at 31.22) and Brady Mulcahy (202 at 33.67) have also cracked the 200-run mark for the Cats this summer.
Prediction — Ninth: While the Cats have resurrected their season with points from their past four contests, a slow start to the summer will come back to bite them. If the side can snare wins from its next two clashes it will still be in the hunt though, with everything then on the line in the last round of the regular season.
Record: 11th, 15 points.
Run home: Karramomus (A), Northerners (H), Central Park-St Brendan’s (H), Katandra (A).
Lightfoot contenders: There are certainly a pair of contenders at Waaia — and they happen to share the new ball every week. Jesse Trower (21 wickets at 13.24) and Mitch Cleeland (20 at 11.35) have been more than outstanding this summer with ball in hand, and have always done their best to keep the Bombers in games no matter the total on the board.
Prediction — 12th: While Waaia has pushed some of the top sides this summer, a lack of big scores has hurt the outfit immensely. Vibert Reserve is great for batting though, and the Bombers will be looking to get on a roll at the crease this round and use that momentum for the remainder of the season.
Record: 12th, 15 points.
Run home: Numurkah (H), Katandra (A), Karramomus (A), Central Park-St Brendan’s (H).
Lightfoot contenders: Brad Gleeson (eight wickets at 19.13) would likely have the most votes in the bank for the Magpies to this stage of the season, but the final four rounds provide a perfect platform for a young star to stand up and be counted in some big games.
Prediction — 13th: It is a tough finish to the summer for the Magpies, facing the top three teams in the competition. The clash against Karramomus at Vibert Reserve shapes as a beauty though.
Record: 13th, 12 points.
Run home: Waaia (H), Tatura (H), Euroa (H), Shepparton United (A).
Lightfoot contenders: You can pencil Luke Forge in for three votes for his monster 136 not out, but aside from that captain Stuart Turner (10 wickets at 35.7) and opener Mitch McGrath (238 runs at 29.8) have been solid contributors.
Prediction — 11th: The Bloods can finish the summer on a high if they can string a few solid performances together during the next two months. The cellar-dweller does not have to play any current member of the top six, and could snare at least two wins from the final four matches — especially if a knock like Forge’s is produced once more.