St Mary's face challenge against Eagles

REIGNING premier St Mary's passed its test against St Arnaud with flying colours at the weekend but will be challenged again tomorrow by Brim-Kellalac-Sheep Hills.

It could be a battle of the bats, with both sides boasting two players with batting averages in the top seven.

St Mary's batsman Paul Rowe is third in the association with an average of 56 runs.

Nick Germano is another Saint who is more than handy with the bat, averaging 42 runs.

Cameron Rattray has the Eagles' highest average, with nearly 43 runs every time he steps to the crease.

Mark McPherson has been consistent in four innings for Brim-Kellalac-Sheep Hills this season, averaging just over 40 runs despite only posting a top score of 43.

While both teams have strong batting line-ups, they occupy the top two positions because their bowling attacks are equally deadly.

Eagles quick Chris McPherson has a league-leading 18 wickets to his name at an average of just six runs.

Saint Justin Knorpp is not far off the pace, with 16 wickets at a 10.4 run average.

Rattray said the Eagles would need to work hard against a deep St Mary's line-up.

"When you play St Mary's, the game is never over until you've got their last man out and you have more runs on the board," he said.

"They've always had their usual good blokes there, but they're a really solid team all the way down the line-up." While he admitted it would be a tough challenge, Rattray said his side was looking forward to the match and had great self-belief.

"The way we've been playing this year we feel like we can beat them," he said.

"We're just having a lot more fun and it's amazing what happens when you do that.

"We feel like we've definitely got a side capable of finishing on top this year."

Donald has suddenly found itself with breathing room in the top four after a win against Marnoo at the weekend.

The victory opened up a two-match buffer between the teams, and a win this week against Jeffcott would nearly seal Donald's finals position.

After struggling for much of the year, Jeffcott finally got its second win against Wycheproof-Narraport at the weekend.

If Daniel Atkins, 67 runs, and Brody Haddow, 62, can capture the same form they showed against the Demons, Jeffcott is in with a chance.

The going will be tough against Donald, which will start the match a clear favourite.

St Arnaud will try to arrest its form slide tomorrow when it travels to Marnoo.

The Saints started the year undefeated, but have dropped their past three matches to sit third on the ladder.

With the exception of Carl Torney, the St Arnaud bats completely failed to fire at the weekend.

Marnoo's solid bowling attack, led by Robert McAllister, could give them trouble if they are off their game again.

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