Centrals’ bold title bid hamstrung by absentees for semi-final

THREE weeks ago Centrals wicketkeeper-batsman Max Dodds made a bold prediction - if his team was to sneak into the finals they “would go on to win it.”

One half of his prediction has come true - Centrals snuck into the Orange District Cricket Association play-offs courtesy of a five wicket upset over heavyweights Orange City on Saturday.

Dodds combined with fellow Centrals 2013-14 recruit Dean Turner in a 126-run partnership, catapulting their adopted team to the victory, and fourth place.

However, if Centrals are to go on and win the competition they will have to do it without several stars, including Turner.

Adam Shepherd will miss the preliminary final due to work commitments while paceman Dan Sandford is nursing a chest injury, and is in doubt. 

Turner, who scored 92 not out in Saturday’s win, will be the most sorely missed.

Turner, who is at a wedding on the South Coast on Friday, has been a crucial factor in Centrals’ run to the finals and was planning to return to Orange to play the game, until he tore his hamstring on the weekend. 

Despite being able to bat through the rest of the game, Turner said he knew his finals hopes were in trouble as soon as he felt his hamstring go early in his innings on Saturday.

“I was definitely going to play if we made it, until someone snipered me on the weekend,” he laughed.

“I knew it was torn straight away. It was very sore Sunday, and still is yesterday (Tuesday).”

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Turner said despite being unable to play he has full confidence in the 11 players who will take the paddock.

“It’s really disappointing to know I won’t be able to get out there and help the boys,” he said.

“It’s been great being a part of the Centrals group, they’re a very determined bunch of guys and they’re doing all the right things ahead of the finals.

“ We’ve been in do-or-die situations for the last few weeks, so mentally I think the guys are definitely prepared. 

“We almost did Cavaliers last time we played them, and we were short then too, so hopefully we can get there this time.”

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