Cricket: Mid-season test to be all-important

NEITHER Ballarat-Redan nor East Ballarat are quite sure what to expect from each other tomorrow.What they do know is the value a win carries in this festive season one-day battle at City Oval.The victor can be assured top-four status in Ballarat Cricket Association club firsts for Christmas while the defeated will have two weeks to ponder what they can do better.Ballarat-Redan welcomed back experienced all-rounder Matt Hoey with middle-order batsman Lee Brown and handy bowler Luke Whinney in selections last night.The trio is set to strengthen the Combine team that escaped with a narrow victory against Golden Point last week.Acting captain Cam Landry is back in charge after an impressive all-round performance, taking 4-12 backed up with 64 runs, not out.Combine captain-coach Shane Skontra said his team could not afford to get in strife again.”It’ll be a close game and really important in the context of the year,” Skontra said.”East has got some good young kids and they’re pretty dangerous too … Cam Landry certainly did steer us home last week but I hope all our senior players can step up and do that.”East has kept an unchanged line-up after a seven-wicket win against Darley.Hawks’ captain Simon Irving has been impressed with his crop of rising stars and said pitting them against Ballarat-Redan would be a big mid-season test.East enters the match on three wins, punctuated with a rain-interrupted draw with Mt Clear, and apart from a round one match against Wendouree, has not had much exposure to the competition leaders.”Ballarat-Redan are a bit of an unknown quantity for us at this stage and like us, they seem to be improving every week,” Irving said.”It’s a pretty big game and we want to go into Christmas with a win but it won’t be easy.”One-day games are always a bit dicey and really competitive games.”Newly arrived premier cricket recruit Daniel Forster made a steady return to BCA firsts last week by opening the batting with 33 runs.He has potential to add bite against an experienced Ballarat-Redan bowling attack in a match likely to keep supporters on edge.
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