Deni Rhinos can claim top spot when they travel away for a two-day match against ladder leader Barooga starting tomorrow.
The Rhinos have had a tremendous start to the Murray Valley Cricket Association season, boasting a 6-1 win-loss record following the one-day fixtures.
It will be a tough game for the Rhinos though, with the Hawks the only team to have beaten them this season. The Deni side crumbled against Barooga in that clash, falling 87 runs short of the target, only managing to score 88 in total with the bat.
Despite the early-season loss, Rhinos captain Brad Todd is optimistic about his side’s chances.
‘‘Our batting wasn’t up to scratch when we last played Barooga, but we’re a much more settled side now,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve been able to produce at least two partnerships of 50 to 60 runs per game recently which has helped us to reach winning scores.
‘‘We can’t just rely on our recent form though. We’ll need to continue to work hard and bat smart to avoid a similar situation to our last encounter with them.’’
Since that game the Rhinos have welcomed import recruit Zeniffe Fowler, who has amassed 107 runs in his past two digs.
Also in great form is allrounder Andrew Hogan, scoring two unbeaten half centuries in the past two weeks against Katamatite and Nathalia.
‘‘If Hoges (Hogan) can bat like he did against Nathalia last week then he’ll be set for another good score,’’ Todd said.
‘‘Zeniffe’s form has also been good to watch, considering he’s new to the country and has to acclimatise to our wickets. Everyone knows that our wicket (at Memorial Park) is hard to start on so we weren’t too surprised that he struggled to get going his first game.
‘‘We’ll most likely have Dean (Edge) and Ash (Germano) open the batting if they’re available to play. Ash recently welcomed a new child, and depending on the weather Dean may need to work due to harvest so player availability is still a bit up in the air,’’ Todd said yesterday.
‘‘We haven’t been in too much trouble with the bat and generally haven’t been under too much pressure.
‘‘Other than last week against Nathalia, we haven’t dropped an early wicket, so there’s no need to change it up too much.
The Rhinos have also been getting the job done with ball in hand.
Todd is in ripping form, taking 4/16 off nine overs last week, but it’s teenager Dylan Rotherham that the Rhinos skipper has been most impressed with.
‘‘It’s been a welcome surprise for someone so young to ease into the role as an opening bowler like he has,’’ he said.
‘‘Dylan’s handled the pressure of opening the bowling and has been able to take some crucial wickets for us.
‘‘With our bowling we try and bowl in a partnership, which has worked well so far.
‘‘We’ll look to keep the line-up the same. Winning form is good form so there’s no need to make unnecessary changes.’’
The Rhinos Division One side will also hit the road this week, when they travel to Cobram to face the Tigers in a 40-over game tomorrow.
A win from Deni would see them leapfrog Cobram, who sit in fourth spot on the ladder.
The Rhinos Under 14s side will also be in action tomorrow morning for day two of their two-day clash against Jerilderie.
The Deni side is in a tremendous position to pick up an away win, having dismissed Jerilderie for 58 after 33 overs last week.
With some Jerilderie players needing to leave early last Saturday, the Rhinos decided to not bat their seven overs and wait until this week where they will be give 47 overs to chase the total.