Season-defining games approach for title hopefuls
With three games left in the Southland senior one-day competition round-robin, the playoff race is heating up. Today The Southland Times casts an eye over each of the six teams and looks at what they may have to do to be part of the playoffs next month.
METRO TIGERS Current points: 30
Maximum points: 45
Remaining games: Invercargill-Old Boys, Albion, SBHS
The lowdown: Metro have already confirmed a spot in the playoffs and given the position they are in, it would have to go horribly wrong for them to not finish the round-robin series in the top two.Two wins from their final three games would ensure they are minor premiers after the round-robin series.
APPLEBY RAMS Current points: 22
Maximum points: 37
Remaining games: Marist, SBHS, Metro.
The lowdown: The 2011-12 beaten finalists have put themselves in a good position to book another playoff berth but the quest will be not to just make the top four after the round-robin, but the all-important top two for a place in the major semifinal.
Their game today against Marist is likely to be a huge factor as to whether they do achieve that.
MARIST Current points: 18
Maximum points: 33
Remaining games: Appleby, Invercargill-Old Boys, SBHS.
The lowdown: Last year Marist just scraped into the top four before going on to be crowned the 2011-12 champions. This season they are sitting in a much better position, with one win from their final three games likely to be enough to book a place in the top four.
Two wins from their final three games - with one of the two against Appleby today - would probably see the Miller St boys climb into the top two and play in the major semifinal.
ALBION Current points: 13
Maximum points: 28
Remaining games: SBHS, Metro, Invercargill-Old Boys.
The lowdown: Albion have made excellent progress in the senior competition in recent seasons and would be bitterly disappointed if they didn't book a playoff spot this season.
They sit fourth at the moment with Invercargill-Old Boys breathing down their neck and the final-round matchup is looming as a possible defining one.
The simple formula for the Gore-based club would be to win their final three games and secure their spot, otherwise it will come down to what Invercargill-Old Boys achieve.
INVERCARGILL-OLD BOYS Current points: 9
Maximum points: 24
Remaining games: Metro, Marist, Albion.
The lowdown: Invercargill-Old Boys went into the 2012-13 competition as firm favourites on the back of a squad featuring six Southland Hawke Cup squad members.
However, the Queens Park-based club have struggled to find any form and have won just two of their seven one-day fixtures to date. They have left themselves needing to win at least two of the three remaining games to give themselves a chance of the top four.
SBHS Current points: 4
Maximum points: 19
Remaining games: Albion, Appleby, Marist.
The lowdown: It's been a struggle for Southland Boys' High School this season as many of the young players have received a tough introduction to the senior competition.
They won't feature in the senior playoffs this season with their focus likely to be player development and preparation for interschool and Gillette Cup fixtures.