by Gus Underwood
WITH last weekend’s one-day round washed out, the first of Goulburn Murray Cricket’s two-day games for the season will be launched this Saturday.
And it brings together two of the top three sides — Cooma and Tongala — on Cooma’s home ground.
Top-of-the-ladder Cooma has been the early-season surprise — the only unbeaten side after four games.
Third-placed Tongala overcame a first-round hiccup to string together three successive wins to restore pre-season expectations of making a bold bid for this year’s flag.
Opening batsman Steve Barrett and skipper allrounder Michael Hill are the two key players Cooma’s batting fortunes revolve around but there are some capable back-ups for support.
And its attack with Hill and the Barrett brothers — Liam, Drew and Mitch — showing the way should not be underestimated, as four sides have discovered already this season.
But with skipper Darin Ohlsen and coach Daniel Coombs showing the way with the bat Tongala has some depth in its batting line-up and will provide a good challenge for the Cooma attack.
TWO other of the present top-four teams on the premiership ladder, Fire Brigade (fourth) and Moama (second), also lock horns in this round at Kyabram’s Northern Oval.
Moama has dropped just the one game — to Cooma — while the Brigade has two wins and a last-game tie with Rochester on its season resume so far.
The Flames have recruited some talented players, including allounder Jesse Barker who has made a big impression so far.
The Brigade has batting depth that should present the Moama attack with a big challenge.
Moama also has its share of runmakers, led by opener Anthony McMcMahon who is coming off a century. He will be an early target for the Brigade attack in what should be a tightly contested affair.
IN the other two games Bamawm Lockington United will be looking for its second win when it takes on Echuca at Bamawn while reigning premier Rochester, with Dylan Cuttriss in form with the bat and always dangerous with the ball, should get over the improving Echuca South.
CRICKET Shepparton games were called off on Saturday due to rain but two-day fixtures will now become one-day games this Saturday.
But Kyabram, which has the bye, sits out another week preparing for its first two-day game for the season against Tatura starting on Saturday week at Kyabram.