Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Old foes to fight for right to be top dog

Top spot and a double-chance will be on the line when Echuca travels south to take on Goulburn Murray Cricket frontrunner Rochester United on Saturday.

DAMEN FRANCIS January 31, 2013 4:15am

Echuca skipper Brendan Prendergast will lead from the front in the top-of-the-table clash with Rochester United starting Saturday.

Top spot and a double-chance will be on the line when Echuca travels south to take on Goulburn Murray Cricket frontrunner Rochester United on Saturday.

The two sides are level on 98 points apiece, but while United holds a sizeable percentage advantage, it has the bye in the final round, meaning a slip up against Echuca would be costly.

A win, on the other hand, would all but guarantee it the minor premiership, with Echuca not only needing to win its final round match against fellow high-flier Rochester Tigers, but to do so convincingly, and even then the percentage differential could be too significant.

None of this is lost on Echuca skipper Brendan Prendergast.

‘If we can win we give ourselves a chance of top spot, but if we lose we’re out of the running,’’ Prendergast said.

‘‘The way the competition is structured the team on top gets the double-chance and if you look at the sides within the top six, all of them are capable of beating each other.

‘‘You like to think you won’t need the double-chance, but it would be good to have it anyway.’’

The two sides developed a rivalry in the Campaspe Cricket Association, but this will be their first meeting since the competition merged with Kyabram District Cricket Association to form the Goulburn Murray league.

Both boast powerful batting line-ups and therefore the bowlers loom as the key to victory for Prendergast.

‘‘They are a good team, they have a number of good batters, and batting has been our strength for the last couple of years,’’ he said.

‘‘The team that bowls the best if probably going to win the game.’’

Several players on either side found themselves teammates last week at Bendigo Country Week, with Prendergast and United captain Dylan Cuttriss among them.

You can be sure both leaders were making the most of the opportunity to see their district opponents up close and plans will no doubt be in place for how to deal with some players this weekend.

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