Waikaka's turn for a challenge
The first round of the 10-team Southland Combined Country competition will come to an end tomorrow and it will also bring the curtain down on the 2012 Southland cricketing year.
The 2012-13 Combined Country format sees each of the teams meet one another twice in round-robin play before the top four square off in semifinals for a place in the final in March.
In the first half of the season last season's finalists, Waikoikoi and Riversdale, look the two standout teams in the race to this season's final.
The Metro Cubs again sit in the top four and face a massive game against Waikaka at home tomorrow.
Not only is it key to ensure they can remain in touch with the top four heading into the Christmas-New Year break but they will also be defending the Combined Country Challenge.
The challenge is up for grabs whenever the holders play a home game.
With the Metro Cubs playing the majority of their games away from their home base this season they have only had to defend it once to date, against Marist.
Tomorrow it will be Waikaka's turn to try pry it away from the Queens Park-based club's headquarters.
Wyndale round out the top four at the moment and look a team very much in form on the back of some impressive deeds by Scott Gutsell, which included leading his team to an upset win over Waikoikoi with a knock of 135.
After just two rounds, Southland's senior competition is shaping up to be a tight affair, with Albion the only team yet to post a victory.
However, a win over Southland Boys' High School tomorrow will put them back in touch in double quick time.
The match of the round tomorrow will probably be the showdown between Invercargill-Old Boys and the Metro Tigers at Queens Park.
Between the two clubs they boast eight players who were part of the Southland setup that recently took on Otago Country in Alexandra in the Hawke Cup southern zone competition game.
The Appleby-Marist fixture at Appleby will also be an intriguing contest, with it being a repeat of last season's final, which Marist won.
- The Southland Times