RAIN appears certain to dent the Orange District Cricket Association first grade finals chances of both Centrals and Waratahs.
The two top-four hopefuls are scheduled to square off today at Wade Park in the first day of a two-day fixture that has potentially defining post-season ramifications for either side heading into March.
Currently sitting fifth on 39 competition points, Centrals need a big win to keep in touch with the fourth-placed Kinross (43 points) with just three rounds remaining.
A loss for Waratahs would almost certainly spell the end of their 2013-14 comeback campaign, with the two blues sitting in sixth position with 33 points and one victory after 12 minor premiership rounds.
Both, however, will be keen to make a run at an outright victory, a chance rain will likely cruel this weekend.
By the same token, any form of points will keep Tahs in the hunt, and the two blues know it.
“We’re keen to win,” Tahs skipper Brock Duncan fired.
“Centrals is the only side we’ve beaten so far this year. We were never in the game against City (last week), but I think we showed potential. We batted 60-odd overs, so if it’s a two-day game, I’m confident we can bat well.”
Centrals will be particularly keen to get back on the winners list.
In a commanding position to do so against CYMS last week, the red and blacks lost momentum at a vital stage of the match to see the green and golds secure a two-wicket win chasing Centrals’ first innings total of 170.
Centrals captain Jake Pauletto was urging his men to go for the throat today.
“I think against CYMS we were probably on top for three-quarters, if not more, of the match, we just didn’t execute well enough late in the field,” Pauletto said.
“This is a vital game for us.”
While Pauletto said Matt Brakenridge was Tahs’ batsman to watch, Duncan said two blues will be keeping a watchful eye on quick Dan Sandford and damaging opening bat Nick Dunlop.
Centrals take on Waratahs from 1pm today at Wade Park.
In other games scheduled to begin today, Orange City take on Cavaliers at Riawena Oval and Kinross hosts CYMS at KWS Main Oval this afternoon.
If rain persists, a decision on the state of each ground will be made this morning.
Last night’s Royal Hotel Cup semi-final between Orange City and Molong was washed out.
It’ll be replayed on Wednesday night from 6.30pm at Wade Park.