TONGALA has won six of its last seven games in Goulburn Murray Cricket, but is still not in the top four.
So when the season resumes this Saturday after the festive break it will be keen to further press its claims for a finals berth.
Tongala is level on points with third-placed Fire Brigade and fourth-placed Cooma in what is shaping as a three-way fight for the final two spots in the top four.
Undefeated reigning premier Rochester United and second-placed Moama are expected to consolidate their elevated positions in the next few rounds in the run to the finals.
So like Tongala, Moama has plenty of motivation when these two sides clash in a vital game starting this Saturday at Moama.
Tongala bounced back from a loss to Cooma in round eight to put Echuca out of finals reckoning in round nine while Moama defeated the struggling Stanhope.
Tongala will need its key batsmen in Darin Ohlsen, Jordan Souter, Adam Nunn, Jayden Tucker and Blake Campbell to step up in this clash, otherwise Moama will punish it.
Moama will be without star bat Layton McCann who will be representing Victoria in the National Country Championships in Geraldton. But it still has an impressive batting line-up which will fully test the Matt and Darin Ohlsen and Adam Nunn-led Tongala attack.
■WITH their spots in the top four both under threat, Fire Brigade and Cooma should both keep themselves in the top bracket regardless of the Moama-Tongala clash.
Cooma takes on Rochester Tigers, still with a chance to sneak into the finals, in what is a danger game. But Cooma should still win while The Flames should get some breathing space when they host cellar-dweller Echuca South.
Liam Barrett and Sam Langley were the only batsmen to stand up in the last round when Cooma was beaten by ladder leader Rochester United. But they will need more support as Rochester Tigers have some capable players who could put the result in the melting pot.
Signs were also promising for Fire Brigade in the round before Christmas with imports Henry Charlton and Sam Kershaw both among the runs.
The Brigade is capable of bringing down any side in the competition on its day and it will be looking to gain some consistency running into the finals. And it won’t get a better chance to flex its muscles against the winless Echuca South.
In the other two games Rochester United should call the shots against Bamawm-Lockington United while Stanhope gets a genuine chance to chalk up its third win for the season when it takes on Echuca at Echuca.
■ IN THE Cricket Shepparton competition this Saturday Kyabram takes on Mooroopna in a vital two-day game at Kyabram.
Kyabram had the better of Mooroopna when they clashed in the first round of the season due primarily to a century from Kyle Mueller and it will be looking to repeat the dose.
Kyabram has skipper Alec Young setting the example with both bat and ball at the moment and with Cade Mueller showing some form with the bat prior to Christmas the Redbacks will be keen to start consolidating its place in the top six.