Grampians cricket finals line up

GCA - Seven rounds in and now into the Christmas/New Year break and it appears the Grampians Cricket Association finals line up is all but decided.

Tatyoon, Swifts/Great Western and Aradale can start making plans for their 2013/2014 finals campaigns, while there is a fair chance Buangor can do likewise.

Tatyoon was the big mover towards the Christmas/New Year break and as a result have now taken over the number one ranking in the A grade competition.

As was the case last season Tatyoon made a slow start to the season and there was every chance this slow start was going to cost them.

However, they have landed on their feet, a first innings win over the then competition leaders Swifts/Great Western and a last round outright win over the struggling Youth Club, has seen them race up the rankings to occupy the number one spot.

Tatyoon's bowlers are behind the sudden rankings rise - Pacemen Jake Williamson and Michael Harricks have added great support for the consistent Tim McDougall and Matt Harris, while in the last round Andy McDougall chipped in with his bag of five wickets in Youth Club's second innings.

If there is a doubt over Tatyoon, it is their batting strength, with a number of batsmen still to hit their straps. Jarrod Blandford is making runs and he needs support, if Tatyoon are to remain at the top of the competition over the next four rounds leading into the finals.

Swifts/Great Western would be disappointed to have lost the number one ranking going in to the Christmas/New Year break. They have led the competition from the outset, but two losses have been costly.

The Combine look to have the best overall outfit having performed with both the bat and ball, although they have relied heavily on the competition's top run maker Travis Nicholson.

Other batsmen need to make runs at crucial times to support Nicholson and keep the Combine in the top rankings.

The young bowling brigade of Jamie Bach, Jackson Dark and Tom McCord has added another dimension for the Combine.

The big improvers in the A grade competition have been Aradale and Buangor.

Aradale have moved into third spot on the ladder with wins in their last two matches prior to the break.

They did slip up against Swifts/Great Western prior to that, but would be pleased with their performances to date.

Travis Horvatek, Brent Tate, Matt Stasse and Tyler Cronin have all been in the runs, while led by talented paceman John Butler, with support from Jamie Dowling, Tate, Stasse and Matt Baldock, the Aradale bowlers have also done well.

With matches against Swifts/Great Western and Tatyoon to finish off the season it will be a real test for Aradale and will determine just how far they advance in the finals.

Buangor had all guns blazing at one stage, but losses in the two rounds prior to the break have brought them back to the field and after being as high as second on the ladder they have now dropped back to fourth spot.

The Ganleys, Harry and Jack, have been key performers for Buangor. Jack Fraser, Shaun Allen, Chris Jerram and Matt Jarrett have added support with the bat, but more consistency will be the key for Buangor as they face some tough encounters to finish off the season.

Pomonal has notched up two wins so far this season, perhaps not enough to get them into finals calculations.

There has been improvement for Pomonal this season mainly led by youngsters Rick and Lee Oliver, the late inclusion of Jon Pollock and some performances from batsmen Rasheed Adnan and Scott Spark.

With a tough run after the break, it is unlikely Pomonal will make enough leeway on the fourth team Buangor to be a finals chance.

The season has been a disaster for Youth Club, with the team ensuring what would be its worst season in many years.

Youth Club are at the bottom of the ladder and performances indicate this is where they will stay.

There has been no consistency at all with both the bat and the ball from Youth Club players. Youth Club need to look at their batting line up and perhaps give their youngsters a chance to gain some confidence down the order and set up some reasonable innings totals to finish the season off.

Play in A grade resumes on Saturday, January 11, with the round to finish off the one day season.

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