Homers and Rup-Minyip in top of the table clash

TWO-DAY cricket returns on Saturday, with a monster HCA A Grade top of the table clash between reigning premier Homers and Rup-Minyip at Sunnyside.

Last season's grand finalists put on a show in round one, with the Pigeons securing a thrilling one-wicket win against the Blue Panthers in a one-dayer at Rupanyup.

Homers remain undefeated this season, and a win this weekend against their nearest challengers Rup-Minyip would almost sew up the minor premiership.

Skipper Lachie Jones said all-rounder Jason Templeton should return to a Pigeons' line-up nearing full strength.

"I think we will be pretty close to full strength, and will be for the rest of the year," he said.

Jones, part of a formidable Homers top-order, said it would be important to bat well on a true Sunnyside wicket to give in-form strike bowlers Siphe Mzaidume and Craig Britten plenty to work with.

"I think the key is getting runs on the board, and our top order making good scores," he said.

"We've got the bowlers to put pressure on them, and if we can keep getting early wickets, that's going to help us for the rest of the year."

At Horsham City Oval, Noradjuha-Toolondo and Blackheath-Dimboola will both be desperate for a win, with just six points separating the two .

The Bulls secured a 19-run win earlier this season against a Bullants side without captain Mat Combe and key batsman Rowan Scott.

That win came off the back of a half-century from in-form first drop Lachie Watts and five wickets from opening bowler Oliver Braithwaite.

A win for the Bullants will see them leapfrog Blackheath-Dimboola into the top four, while the Bulls will move two games clear of fifth place if they snare their first two-day win for the season.

Jung Tigers have a big opportunity to move within a win of the top four when they take on Colts at Dudley Cornell Park.

Tigers' middle-order batsman Aaron Emmerson was the only player to pass 25 last time these sides met, clubbing four sixes and ten fours on his way to a match-winning knock of 90.

The Tigers' batting consistency has improved over the past few matches, with opener Rod Kirkwood and keeper Nathan Neumann providing stability at the top of the order with consecutive half-centuries either side of the Christmas break.

Colts haven't tasted success since beating Laharum in late October, but four batsmen got starts against Rup-Minyip a fortnight ago and they will be hoping someone can go on and get a big score in this match.

The third-placed Horsham Saints will be looking to strengthen their grasp on a finals berth at Coughlin Park, against a Laharum side desperately needing a win to keep its finals hopes alive.

Saints' captain Gary Davidson will retake the reins after he was to miss last weekend's postponed matches, however dangerous middle-order batsman Clint King looks set to miss.

The Mountain Men will take confidence from a narrow loss just after Christmas, with the side amassing 227 runs without the services of key batsman Glenn Doyle and captain Damien Bunworth.

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