Fancied Appleby positioned to tighten title grip
The Appleby Rams could find themselves with one hand gripped firmly on the inaugural Southland club declaration competition title if they beat Invercargill-Old Boys tomorrow.
The short declaration competition is already drawing to a close with two rounds to play and Appleby hold a handy 11-point lead over second-placed Metro Tigers.
The form guide suggests Appleby will be too strong for Southland Boys' High School in the final round of play next Saturday, which means success tomorrow against Invercargill-Old Boys would put them in the box seat.
In front of them, however, is a strong Invercargill-Old Boys line-up to contend with.
Invercargill-Old Boys possess a good bowling attack, which includes spinners Ryan Meyer and Khanin Saikia.
Both players have previously been part of the Australian and Indian under-19 setups respectively.
They also have Hawke Cup representative players Jonathan Hodson and Jason Domigan to call on to ask questions of the Appleby batsmen.
The other game tomorrow with plenty riding on it is the fixture in Gore between Albion and Metro Tigers.
The losers from this game, if it's not a draw, can probably put a line through their title hopes heading into the final weekend.
Aside from pride, there is not much at stake in the third game tomorrow, between Marist and Southland Boys' High School, with Southland Boys' certainly out of the running and Marist's hopes nothing more than slim.
Much of the interest in the fixture will be on wether Southland can show improvement after a tough start to the season.
They have been bowled out for 35 and 53 in the past two weeks and have worked hard during the week to try to rectify their batting problems.
Despite some low scores, the declaration competition format, which was introduced to try to simulate situations players may find themselves in at Hawke Cup level, has proved a success.
Games have developed along intended lines where teams are trying to save a game by batting for a draw while the bowling team has gone all out on attack to claim a victory.
Meanwhile, it will be a big weekend for Southland's leading players as they back up from club matches on Saturday to play in a Southland Hawke Cup trial game on Sunday.
It will be a 60-overs-per-side game, starting at 10.30am at Southland Boys' High School.
- The Southland Times