THE most crucial round of matches so far this season in Goulburn Murray Cricket will take place this Saturday.
With the first day of the two-day eighth round washed out last Saturday, this Saturday’s fixtures become one-day games.
Topping the billing is the clash between second placed Moama and the reigning premier and ladder leader Rochester United at Moama.
Moama can level up the premiership points with United and confirm its popular ranking by association observers as flag favourite with a win.
The third and fourth placed sides Cooma and Tongala clash in the other blockbuster at Tongala.
Both are level on premiership points, a game clear of fifth placed Kyabram Fire Brigade, a game behind Moama and two wins in arrears of Rochester United.
A buoyant Tongala is seeking its sixth successive win after dropping its first two games for the season and with its confidence building with every win can give the in-form Cooma a run for its money.
Fire Brigade travels to Victoria Park to take on Echuca and suddenly finds it’s under immense pressure after dropping recent games to Cooma and Tongala.
The Flames currently sit a game outside the top four and only half a game ahead of Echuca so it’s a vital showdown for both sides in their respective bids to play finals.
Premier batsman Paul Newman has returned to bolster Brigade’s sometimes fragile but still talented batting list which needs more consistency if the Flames are to play finals.
Stanhope and Rochester Tigers are almost out of finals contention but mathematically could still make it if favoured by results. So their clash at Rochester is a must win for both sides with the loser having no chance of playing finals.
The remaining clash is between bottom sides BLU and Echuca South and the winner could hand its rival the wooden spoon.
In the Cricket Shepparton competition, Kyabram will be looking to get back on the winning list this Saturday after successive losses and a wash-out last Saturday.
Kyabram meets Old Students, currently holding down the wooden spoon position on the ladder, so it won’t get a better chance to return to the winning list and start cementing a top six position to allow it to play finals.
Kyabram has some key players out in the last round against Katandra but young talents Cade Mueller, Curtis Ryan, Kyle Fitzgerald and also Tim Nelson will return to bolster the side for this two-day game leading into the Christmas break
Kyabram is currently sitting in fifth spot on the ladder.