The Deni Rhinos resume their 2018/19 Murray Valley Cricket Association campaign with an important two day clash at home against Barooga tomorrow.
The last time the two teams clashed was in early December and it was Barooga who dominated that day, bowling out the Rhinos for 130 before quickly chasing down the required runs for a six wicket victory in 25 overs.
Going into the second half of the season, Deniliquin are third on the ladder with Barooga sitting just behind them in fourth.
The Rhinos will be without Chris Pyle, and captain Brad Todd said Liam Pitts might receive the call up.
Andrew Hogan, who missed the second day against Nathalia, is a chance to return.
‘‘We will look to bring back Liam Pitts into the two day set-up, so that could be this match or our next game.
‘‘Brodie Bennett is still a couple of weeks away from returning so there will be some changes to our last side.
‘‘There will be pressure on spots now leading into the second half of the year so hopefully this give the guys some motivation to keep their place in the team going forward.’’
Todd said getting a reasonable total on the board will be an important step towards beating Barooga.
‘‘We haven’t made a good score against them since we first entered a team into the Murray Valley.
‘‘I didn’t play the last match but speaking with John (Arthur) we need to be patient when batting.
‘‘We batted like millionaires in the one day games, so we need to knuckle down and bat as long as we can like we did against Nathalia, and cash in towards the end of the day.’’
Barooga have been noted for their good spin bowling attack with Riley Gow leading the way.
Gow has been his side’s leading wicket taker with 11 so far this season, and has been backed up well by the likes of Matthew Jaensch and Justin Maley both taking nine and Amar Ullah and Sam Leigh each taking eight wickets.
Todd said the Rhinos have not traditionally performed well against spin, and have made it a priority at training.
‘‘Spin has been an issue with us in the past and we know a lot of overs this weekend will be used up with spin, so it has been a bit of a focus at training.
‘‘That will continue going forward for the remainder of the year.’’
The Deniliquin Rhinos host Barooga at Memorial Park over the next two Saturdays (January 12 and 19) with play starting at 12.30pm each week.
The Rhinos’ Division One squad will this weekend tackle Finley, who have been the surprise packet of the competition after electing to drop from Premier Division after two winless seasons.
The Cats sit second on the ladder and will be favoured to beat the seventh placed Rhinos.
Finley president Matt Whitty said he is expecting an ‘‘arm wrestle’’ between the two sides.
‘‘Last time we played Deni they had a few guys missing, so with a full strength squad they will be tough to beat,’’ he said.
The match will be played in Finley on Saturday, starting at 1pm.