Cobram Cricket Club faced a tricky test in round four of the Murray Valley Cricket Association against a much-improved Katamatite side but the Tigers passed with flying colours.
The Tigers knocked off the top-placed team by a commanding 166 runs.
Once again the yellow and black army had the brilliance of South African import Wian Van Zyl to thank, with the big hitting opening batsmen making 112 runs from just 102 balls, before being dismissed by Ben Lukies.
Van Zyl’s dominant knock followed his scintillating performance against Tocumwal in round three when he smashed 274 not out, showing he could be the deciding factor between Cobram walking away with the premiership at the end of the season or not.
Cobram captain Adam De Cicco waxed lyrical about the influence Van Zyl has made on the emerging contender.
‘‘He really sets the tone for us at the start of the innings. He’s so aggressive and he just hits the ball so hard and plays his shots,’’ he said.
‘‘He got dropped in the second over I think but that didn’t phase him at all, he just continued to bat naturally and play his shots all around the wicket.’’
While Van Zyl again starred, the skipper said another Tiger gave him a run for his money.
‘‘Jimmy Daniel was also really influential for us in making 45 (not out) batting at five and he took four wickets as well with his off-spin, so he would have been best on ground for us I reckon.’’
De Cicco said although the Tigers were playing well at the moment, they could get even better with bowlers Darcy McCormack and Mark Haberfield still to return to the line-up.
This weekend Cobram faces cross-river rival and last year’s premiers Barooga and De Cicco believes his troops will face a stern examination which will show them exactly where they stand.
‘‘We’ve got to try and limit the influence of Riley Gow, who’s a good bat and he showed that in the grand final last year when he made a ton,’’’ he said.
‘‘If we can get him out early we can put pressure on the rest of the order. Kale Watkins is also a danger man for them.’’
●In other MVCA action, Barooga barely raised a sweat in its defeat of Cobram-Yarroweyah United.
United suffered an early collapse and could not recover from being three wickets down for four runs despite Brett Andrew’s best efforts of an unbeaten 49 runs.
Gow did much of the damage for Barooga and tore through the opposition’s top order to finish with four wickets, while Matthew Jaensch staked his claim for the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-9.
But Gow took man-of-the-match honours with a quick-fire 51 runs in the second innings as Barooga took 17 overs to surpass what was set.
Deniliquin Rhinos also cruised past Nathalia, with the Purples’ 85 runs scored in the first innings chased down in 21 overs as all three of the Rhinos’ top-order batsmen made a contribution to the victory.