CITY United and Alvie are locked in a tight battle to claim Colac district cricket’s top-grade minor premiership.
Alvie will resume its innings at 2-40 in pursuit of United’s 150 after a wicket-filled day at Colac’s Eastern Reserve.
The winner of the match will clinch the minor premiership, while Alvie could drop to third if it loses and Irrewarra defeats Colac.
United never got going during its innings, losing regular wickets as Alvie bowled it out inside 60 overs, with teenager Luke Inglis again top-scoring with 38.
Tim Vagg, 4-41, and Mark Kent, 3-31, took the bowling honours for Alvie.
But the Swans lost two wickets late in the day – both falling to Kane Leersen – to hand United some ascendency, if not the day-one honours.
United all-rounder David Treweek said he was at a loss to solve his side’s batting woes. United has failed to pass 150 in four trips to the crease since Christmas.
“I don’t know what it is, probably confidence is one thing,” he said.
“Whether we need to do some centre-wicket practice at training or what, I don’t know.”
Treweek said United had hoped for 200-plus on an Eastern Reserve wicket and outfield that is in the best condition it has been for years.
He said Alvie’s batting depth meant United had to take early wickets and maintain pressure in the field when play resumed on Saturday.
To that end, Leersen removing openers Gerard Hickey, 16, and Justin McGuane, 2, late in the day could turn out to be the most important spell of the match.
“Gerard Hickey was a big wicket, he got 60 in the last game so we know he can bat,” Treweek said.
“Even yesterday he put away a couple of bad balls and got their score ticking over pretty easily,” he said.
“That was a big one, and Justin McGuane as well, it was a good ball by Kane.”
Stand-in Alvie skipper Liam McGuane said the Swans believed the score was well within reach.
“I think we did reasonably well considering they had a pretty good start, they were 1-40 looking pretty solid,” he said.
“Sammy Cardinal was looking in good touch as he has been all week.
“We were flat to begin with but we picked it up.
“Mark Kent at the start’ he bowled really well considering he had a whole week of bowling pretty much, and Tim Vagg as well, when he came on he really sparked us.”
• More cricket reviews in the current issue of the Colac Herald.