THERE will be plenty at stake when the in-form Berry-Shoalhaven Heads take on Bomaderry at Berry Sporting Complex tomorrow.
The winner will move one step closer to securing a place in the SDCA one-day final and both captains are looking at it as a must-win game.
A brilliant hundred from Jason Bell helped Bomaderry take first innings points when the two sides met in the opening round, but it can be a very different ball game in the one-day arena.
After slipping up in both their two-day games at the start of the season, the Magpies look to have found their feet in recent weeks and go into tomorrow without a loss in the one-dayers.
Magpies skipper Kerry Penfold said it is probably a must-win for both sides and has been happy with their recent form.
“We haven’t lost a game yet and I think that’s come from basically having the same team and not having to make changes,” Penfold said.
“But they’re going well too.
“They’ve got guys like Jordan Matthews and John Muggleton with the ball, then Jason Bell, who scored a hundred against us last time and Blake Munilla, who’s been scoring runs, so we’ll have to keep an eye on them.”
Berry were without players like Brad Carey and Ty Cherry when they met in the opening round and while Penfold said that is not an excuse for losing, he thinks they have more depth this time around.
Interestingly it will only be Berry’s first home game since their two-dayer against Nowra and only their second for the season.
Penfold said his side is looking forward to being back on their home turf and is hoping they have got another big performance in them.
“I don’t even care if we lose, just as long as we’re competitive,” he said.
“We’ve had a big win against our nemesis Ex-Servos, but now we’ve got Bomaderry and Nowra next week, so I think this will be a good test of where we’re at.
“If Nowra win this week, they’re probably in the final no matter what, so we need to win or we’ll be relying run rate or we’ll have to hope Bomaderry lose their next game.
“But if we win, it stays in our hands, so that’s what we’re hoping for.”
Bomaderry are currently behind Berry on the one-day ladder but will be right back in the frame if they can win.
This is something their captain Jordan Matthews is well aware of and sees tomorrow’s game as a do or die clash.
“If we don’t win we’re probably out, so I’d say it’s vital,” Matthews said.
“I think they’ll be very strong, with the inclusion of guys like Ty Cherry and Brad Carey so I think the key is not to let them get too good of a start.”
While they have only lost one game this season, Matthews knows they can’t afford to lose another if they want to play in the one-day final.
“We didn’t get the chance to beat Ex-Servos and we lost to Nowra, so we definitely need to win our last two games.
“If we don’t, we’ll have to rely on other results and we don’t want to do that, but it’s in our hands if we can keep winning.”
Matthews said he is hoping they can get plenty out of their top order and thinks they have a good chance if they can keep Berry to a decent total.
Around the other grounds, Nowra will all but guarantee their place in the one-day final with a win against North Nowra-Cambewarra at Bernie Regan.
This will be a bit of a David and Goliath type battle with Nowra undefeated, while North’s are still yet to win a game.
Last time they met Nowra scored a massive outright win, so if that is anything to go by, things are not about to get any easier for Norths.
Nick McDonald has been the rock of the Norths batting line-up this season and probably holds the key for them, while they will welcome the return of Graham Davidson, who missed their loss to Ex-Servos.
While they have constantly struggled with the bat, there were some positives with North’s bowling, with Angus Clark taking four wickets last week, while Liam O’Brien and Chris Lewis have found some form recently.
Alex Legge, Justin Weller and Michael Coulter did the damage for Nowra last time they played, but they have shown just about all their players can win them games this season.
Bay and Basin and Batemans Bay have had seasons to forget so far, but one of them will get a much-needed confidence booster when they play at Sanctuary Point Oval.
Runs were plenty and wickets were few last time they played, with Matt Sethi and Jonathan Hill both making centuries in the opening round and both will be hoping they can repeat their heroics.
Bay and Basin already got the monkey off their back with a win against Norths two weeks ago, while Batemans Bay are still in search of their first victory in the Shoalhaven.
Ex-Servos and Ulladulla are probably out of contention as far as the one-dayers go, but both are still well in the hunt for a semi-finals berth.
Ulladulla just missed the boat last season and desperately need a win at Hayden Drexel Oval tomorrow if they want to keep themselves in the race.
Ex-Servos are coming in off the back of a convincing win against Norths, where James Spackman took five wickets and Shane Phillis made 50, while Ulladulla pushed Nowra all the way.
Harley Bell is still the leading run-scorer in the competition, while his brother Nathan continues to take wickets, so they will consider themselves a good chance.