Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Experience crucial in Benalla cricket semi-final

Violet Town captain Rob Saker says his team's success in finals will give it the edge in this weekend's BDCA semi-final against Delatitie.

OLIVER CAFFREY February 27, 2014 4:40am

Delatite's Mitch Purcell and Violet Town's Daniel Edwards, pictured here during the Twenty20 final earlier this month, will clash in another big game, Saturday's semi-final.

Violet Town captain Rob Saker believes finals experience and success will be the keys to victory against Delatite on Saturday.

Last season’s premier will take on the Twenty20 champion for a place in the Benalla and District Cricket Association final when the two top teams battle it out at the Gardens Oval.

The Towners have led the way all season, but a recent drop in form and an eight-game win streak from Delatite cut the points gap to two at the end of the regular season.

Delatite’s golden run has also helped it beat the Towners on the past three occasions, including the Twenty20 final.

However, Saker is confident his side is capable of defeating its nemesis and advancing to another final.

‘‘They do have the wood over us recently, but we do have the cricketers to beat them,’’ Saker said.

‘‘Us against them they do have an edge on us at the moment, but we do have the finals advantage over them, they haven’t had great success in finals and winning last year gives us plenty of belief.

‘‘I think everyone has been a bit flat lately, but that might be more to do with that we haven’t played much cricket (with games called off because of poor weather), but it’s finals time now and everyone is up and about.’’

Saker said key batsman Simon Holmes, who is still battling a calf injury, will miss Saturday’s clash, but will most likely play on Sunday if the Towners lose and are forced to front up in the preliminary final.

Delatite captain Andrew Startin has been in impressive form in the second half of the season and will provide much of the potence in the batting line-up.

Saker said former Victorian Premier cricketer Matt Stevenson was in scintillating form during Melbourne Country Week, and the Towners batsmen will need to hold out the fast bowler to be in with a good chance.

Vice-captain Stevenson said the confidence gained out of the last few wins against the Towners was still relevant.

‘‘I think we sort of do, beating them the last three times, they’ll be wondering how they’re going to beat us, we’re not cocky, but we’ll go in confident,’’ Stevenson said.

‘‘It should be very interesting, we’ve beaten them three times in a row now, but they flogged us twice before that, but we’ve got our plans with our game and we’ll stick to that.’’

Stevenson said Delatite would be at full-strength, with Luke Burton and Daniel Walker to return.

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