Big Tiger test

By Jamie Lowe

It does not get much bigger than this in the Murray Valley Cricket Association Premier Grade, with the second placed Deni Rhinos travelling to take on ladder leader Cobram this weekend.

The top of the table fixture promises plenty of entertainment, with play scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday at Cobram Showgrounds.

Both sides have been on a winning streak, with the Rhinos winning their last eight games of the season.

Cobram remain undefeated however, winning all nine of their encounters, including a three wicket win against the Rhinos in round one.

With more games under their belt and the inclusion of South African import Mandus Venter, Rhinos skipper Brad Todd said his charges were keen to face the Tigers.

‘‘The boys are up for the challenge. We need to find out where we sit as Cobram have been the best side so far this year,’’ he said.

‘‘It will be a good test for us this weekend, as well as a good practice come finals time, playing on both Saturday and Sunday.

‘‘Ideally we will bat first and post a good score and then bowl well and force their batsmen into mistakes, and make the most of our opportunities in the field.

‘‘If we do have to bowl first we need to be patient and bowl to a plan.

‘‘Mandus (Venter) and Hoges (Andrew Hogan) will most likely open the bowling, but Brodie Bennett may be a chance too.’’

The Rhinos will have just one change to the side this week with Ben Irwin returning, replacing young-gun Dylan Rotherham.

Rotherham will miss the remainder of the season, with the 18 year-old pace bowler moving to Bateman’s Bay.

‘‘We have some depth this year and we hope to be able to cover him for the rest of the season,’’ Todd said.

One contest that most onlookers are looking forward to is the battle between the South African imports, with Rhinos right-arm pace bowler Venter going head to head with Tigers big-hitter Wian Van Zyl.

Van Zyl is in outstanding form, fresh off a knock of 125 in the Bendigo Country Week grand final.

‘‘We need to limit his (Van Zyl’s) boundaries,’’ Todd said.

‘‘He hits a lot of them so if we can make him run his runs hopefully he makes a mistake and we take the chance when it comes.

‘‘Adam de Cicco has also got a good average against us, so we need to be disciplined when bowling to him.’’

Both days of the two-day clash between the Rhinos and Cobram will start at 12.30pm.

In Division One, the top of the ladder Rhinos are scheduled to host sixth placed Cobram at Memorial Park.

Deni’s Division Two side is also scheduled to play at home tomorrow when they face Finley.

Both games are set to start at 1pm, if weather permits.

The Under 14s Rhinos are also scheduled for a home game at Memorial Park, when they host Barooga at 8.30am tomorrow.