Northerners were the big winners after Saturday's Cricket Shepparton matches were abandoned and collected six points due to having the bye to move to fourth on the Haisman Shield ladder.DAMEN FRANCIS February 3, 2014 4:10am
Tyler Pedretti and Northerners received a welcome boost last round, with maximum points for the bye, while finals rivals shared the points due to the heat.
Northerners were the big winners out of the weekend’s abandoned round of Haisman Shield matches.
With temperatures reaching the forecast 42°C on Saturday, Cricket Shepparton’s heat rule policy was implemented.
All matches were declared draws and each team awarded three points — except Northerners, which picked up six points for the bye.
It meant the Jets moved to fourth place on the ladder — ahead of Katandra and Kyabram on percentage — without bowling a ball in anger for two weeks.
The Eagles and Redbacks were forced to share the points, which was a blow to both sides’ finals chances.
Katandra could feel slightly more aggrieved given its strong position at the end of day one.
The Eagles were due to resume at 4-75 chasing 136 and Redbacks skipper Alec Young admitted prior to day two his side would settle for a draw given the ever-tightening race for finals.
It was an equally frustrating scenario for chasing pair Old Students and Numurkah.
With their head-to-head clash at Numurkah Showgrounds hanging in the balance after the opening day, both sides would have fancied their chances of closing the gap to the top six, and possibly sneaking inside if results fell their way.
It sets up an intriguing final two rounds.
Top-three sides Central Park-St Brendan’s, Mooroopna and Karramomus are secure, but the final three spots remain up for grabs, with as many as six clubs still in contention.
Northerners, Katandra and Kyabram each have 39 points and Old Students and Numurkah are locked on 33 points.
At six points further back, Euroa is an outside chance, but cannot be completely discounted.
A bye in the penultimate round and a win against final-round opponent Shepparton and Youth Club United leaves the door ever-so-slightly ajar, but realistically it is a mathematical chance at best.
The Students have the hardest run home, with top-two sides Mooroopna and Central Park-St Brendan’s to come.
The Redbacks have Karramomus, before a crunch clash with Numurkah, which plays Tatura next.
Northerners have Katandra and Karramomus, with the former guaranteed six points in the final round courtesy of the bye.
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