The side to beat

By Fraser Walker-Pearce

Cobram’s cricketers start back on Saturday with a real chance of going on to do big things in the Murray Valley Cricket Association.

Seven weeks undefeated on the trot, Cobram looks the side to beat as it leads the way in the MVCA one-day and two-day competitions.

Barooga and Cobram-Yarroweyah United have ground to make up if they are to slip inside the top four ahead of the finals in their respective competitions.

With just four rounds remaining, Cobram is the leading light for the senior A-grade, a full 12 points and a huge percentage above second-placed Katamatite.

The side, which finished the 2017-18 season losing to local rivals Barooga in the semi-finals, will be looking to go at least one better this year and is now the frontrunners for the 2018-19 title.

A defining moment in becoming the frontrunners was the crucial two-day win against Katamatite, which was previously snapping at the heels of the local side.

In the final match before the break, Cobram had important players step up to the plate at the right time to consolidate the victory and go into the nearly month-long break as clear favourites.

Tyron Baden’s 45 runs from as many balls was a highlight in that match, while at the other end, Adam Decicco nabbed an astounding 7-25 off 18 and a half overs, which included six maidens.

Another top performer within the squad has been opening bat Wian Van Zyl — who has averaged more than 100 runs a match across the nine matches thus far, including an amazing 274 not out earlier in the year.

When Cobram returns to action, they will head to fifth-placed Nathalia for the first of a two day match.

●Barooga is teetering dangerously on the edge of the missing out on a finals berth.

Sitting fourth, there is less than a win separating the side from fifth-placed Nathalia.

But Barooga was in strong form before the break, with three wins from as many games.

The club has defended its wickets well, losing the second least number of wickets in the competition (44 in seven matches).

The club’s problem lies in the runs conceded column.

Averaging 184 runs scored by opposition teams, it means Barooga’s top order has to make an immediate impact if it is to get anything from the match.

And while some have, like Trent Batchelor who averages 31 runs a match, others in the top order have fallen regularly when called on.

Youngster Riley Gow has been a shining light with the ball for Barooga, taking 11 wickets from seven — with best bowling figures of 4/24 for the season.

When Barooga returns to the field, it takes on third-placed Deniliquin Rhinos in what is likely to be the battle for third place, earning a slightly easier semi-final match-up.

●For Cobram-Yarroweyah the remaining six rounds has left everything to play for, with the side sitting in fourth.

Playing in the MVCA division one, Katunga lead the way by a considerable distance. But second through fifth positions are still available, with just 15 points the difference.

Cobram-Yarroweyah returns on Saturday to play Katunga away from home in a one-day match, and play round 11 away at Deniliquin.