Cricket's battle for top spot

The battle is on for the number one ranking in the A grade division of the Grampians Cricket Association.

With just one two day fixture remaining prior to the Christmas/New Year break, three teams now share the top billing.

Swifts/Great Western, Tatyoon and Buangor, after six rounds have all won four of their six matches with just percentage separating them.

One of the three can expect to drop from the equation after the round seven two day fixture which opens tomorrow.

Reality is Buangor and Swifts/Great Western clash in this round.

Both teams are coming off a loss in the previous round, Buangor lost out in a big way against Pomonal and the Combine fell to Tatyoon in a close result.

Form going into this match does suggest Swifts/Great Western should remain a challenger for the top ranking.

Buangor would have been extremely disappointed with their batting performance against Pomonal and there is every chance of a repeat performance against the Combine bowling attack.

Chris Jerram and Ben Hargreaves did offer resistance last week, as did Harry Ganley in the second innings, but they will need to repeat these efforts and gain the support of the likes of Shaun Allen, Jack Fraser, Tyson Carr and Martin Jarrett to set up a competitive score against the Combine.

Jamie Bach, Mark Brilliant, Jackson Dark, Tom McCord and Gary Ranton could prove quite a handful for the Buangor batsmen to counter on the turf at the Alexandra Oval.

The Combine batsmen will also need to lift their efforts and support Travis Nicholson, as Harry Ganley, Ben Hargreaves, Phillip Brady and Chris Jerram have been able to force the issue for Buangor a number of times this season.

Setting up a big first innings score will be important in this match.

Pomonal produced their best performance for the season so far last round with the win over Buangor and it will take another big effort to take the points in the clash against Aradale this round.

Aradale answered the challenge against Youth Club last round and with a win here they will go a long way to cementing a finals spot. Pomonal loom as their main challenger and to dispose of them this round would be a bonus.

Led by paceman John Butler the Aradale bowlers will need to be on song to maintain the pressure on the Pomonal batsmen.

Opening batsmen Adnan Rasheed and Jon Pollock and Scott Spark were in the runs last round and if they can repeat that performance against the Aradale attack, the Tigers are capable of another upset result.

Fresh from his century last outing Aradale allrounder Brent Tate, with support from Travis Horvatek, Mitch Cronin, Matt Stasse and Tyler Cronin will be looking to set up a big first innings score for Aradale.

Lee Oliver, Al McKay and Rick Oliver did the job with the ball for the Tigers against Buangor and they will make things tough for the Aradale batsmen.

Tatyoon will have their tails up after upsetting Swifts/Great Western last round and they will be looking to focus their challenge for the top spot on the ladder with a win over the struggling Youth Club.

Youth Club did put themselves in with a chance of victory against Aradale, but a mediocre bowling performance put an end to this. The return of Steve LeGassick, Jamie Solyom and Jarrod Illig will help, but probably not enough to really force the issue against Tatyoon.

On the other hand Tatyoon bowlers Jake Williamson, Tim McDougall, Matt Harris and Michael Harricks will make it tough for the Youth Club batsmen to set up a competitive score.

Tomorrow's matches:

A grade

Buangor v Swifts/Great Western (AO) - T McKinnis

Aradale v Pomonal - P Harris

Tatyoon v Youth Club - A Farish

B grade

Youth Club v Navarre (NP)

Halls Gap v St Andrews

Willaura v Chalambar

Pomonal v Swifts/Great Western - D Hey

C grade (One day)

Rhymney/Moyston v Aradale (Moy)

Buangor v Pomonal (GS)

Navarre v St Andrews

Chalambar v Elmhurst (RO)

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