TWO matches with huge finals implications are set to be played on Saturday as the top four teams battle each other.
Fourth-placed Donald will face top team and reigning premier St Mary’s at home.
The Saints are undefeated this season and have only been seriously challenged by Marnoo in round two.
Donald is hopeful it can be more than competitive on Saturday.
Openers Jake Leith and Andrew Bayles set the tone for Donald’s 20-run victory over St Arnaud at the weekend by notching half-centuries.
Bowler Brent Barber produced his best individual outing since taking a hat-trick last season by claiming 5-18 from seven overs.
St Mary’s all-rounder Tim Bell said with in-form batsmen and bowlers, Donald was a team to be reckoned with.
“They’ve got a good opening pair and Jake Leith is probably their best bat so if we can get him cheaply we’ll be in a good position,” he said.
Bell also singled out Donald captain Dion Hawkes as a dangerous bowler.
He said St Mary’s was missing five of its best players at the weekend because of harvest and would likely miss more players on Saturday.
With many other teams facing the same difficulty, Bell said wins at this time of the year often came down to chance.
“Any side can beat any side as Donald showed against St Arnaud,” he said.
“I’m not sure if St Arnaud had its full side in and I daresay Donald was missing a few as well.
“It comes down to individual performances at this time of year and if an individual has a good day, it goes a long way to winning their team the match.”
Second and third-placed sides St Arnaud and Brim-Kellalac-Sheep Hills will meet on Saturday on the St Arnaud turf wicket.
Since dropping the opening match of the season against St Mary’s, the Eagles have been riding a hot streak and have won their past four matches.
St Arnaud fell short against Donald at the weekend for its first loss of the season and will want to atone for the performance.
Marnoo sits six points out of the top four and will play Wycheproof-Narraport at Wycheproof on Saturday.
The Demons made the finals last season but have struggled in a winless opening stretch this season.
Saturday’s match might be the final chance to climb back into finals contention.
Charlton is also desperate for a win against Jeffcott after dropping its past three matches.
The team started the season strongly but has faded, while Jeffcott sits on the bottom of the ladder without a win.