Heavyweight clash

By Jamie Lowe

It's a clash of the heavyweights in the Murray Valley Cricket Association tomorrow.

The Deni Rhinos will look to lock away a top two finish when they host third-placed Katamatite for day one of their two-day clash at Memorial Park.

The second-placed Rhinos will build a crucial two-game gap on the Tigers if they score a win.

While a top-two finish does not give Deni a home game advantage, with finals held at Cobram and Barooga, Rhinos skipper Brad Todd said it was important for his side to win to keep momentum rolling into finals.

“If we win this game, it pretty much will sew up a top two finish,” he said.

“It looks as though the top four are set with regards to the semi finals, it's just a matter of if we finish second or third.

“The only advantage of finishing second is if there is bad weather and we don't get any play in, the higher ranked team will advance.

"We need to remain patient due to the length of the games now, but we still need to score runs, so we will back our blokes in to play their natural game but also keep the good balls out and look to score off any bad ones.”

The Rhinos should be at full strength for the clash and will head into the game fresh from an impressive 193 run stand against ladder leader Cobram in a drawn game on Sunday.

Katamatite however have not played since January 25, after a heat-out saw them miss out on lining up with the bat in their two-day clash against Barooga.

Todd said that despite this, the Tigers have plenty of fire power.

"Ash Saunders is very attacking so we need to be smart with field placings and bowling when he bats as he can score quite quickly,” he said.

"He also bowls some good medium pacers as well so he is definitely one we need to limit as much as possible throughout the match.

"Katamatite have got another couple of imports since we played them early on, in Sam Dorsey and James Tierney, who both played in the Country Week final.

"Sam is a good top order bat and bowls some handy right arm off spin, where James is a big hitting middle order bat who opens the bowling and he bowls a good heavy ball, so it will be a good contest for us.

"What happens on day one depends on what we do first up. Hopefully we get to bat first and post a good score so we are able to put pressure on Katamatite to force them into mistakes.

"If not, it would be good to get some early wickets which in turn will put Ash and Sam under some pressure to post a winning score for them.

"This will hopefully lead to a some chances that we can capitalise on and get into their tail end batsmen as soon as possible.”

The clash between the Rhinos and Katamatite will start at 12.30pm tomorrow.

While the Deni Rhinos Division One side will have a bye there will still be plenty of action this weekend.

In Division Two, the fifth-placed Rhinos will have a tough road trip to face third-placed Katunga in a must win game.

This clash will be held at Katunga Recreation Reserve, starting at 1pm.

The Under 14s Rhinos will host Barooga over the next two weekends, with day one of the two-day clash being played at Memorial Park tomorrow.

The action will kick-off at 8.30am.