Last year’s TCL Premier League grand finalists Longford and Hadspen will meet for the first time this weekend, albeit in a Twenty20 match.
The Chieftains, who have started the season with a win and a loss, will host both the Country Tigers and Diggers on Saturday without unavailable leg-spinner Matt Green and batsman Reuben Steele.
However, they regain skipper Liam Reynolds for the double header.
“We are finding our feet and Longford will be a good early-season test being a respected opponent and the benchmark of the competition,” Reynolds said.
“You can’t read too much into early-season games as everyone is still dusting off the cobwebs so we are, as always, looking for two solid performances and improvement each week. T20 is very unpredictable.”
Longford’s unbeaten start has coach Josh Adams smiling, but hoping for a better turnout from his batsmen after his bowlers skittled ACL for just 47. “Our batsmen have got a few starts but haven’t gone on so hopefully someone out of the top five can get a big score,” he said.
“Our bowlers have been good… Dilly (Dilan Sandagirigoda) has got some good tricks and has and will cause some headaches for some batsmen).”
Sandagirigoda has so far taken six wickets for 20 runs off 11 overs in three matches.
Adams said Trent Spencer would replace Scott Graham.
CRESSY will also face-off against two rivals in ACL and Beauty Point at home with Jono Goss and Sam Graham to return for the Bulldogs.
Cressy defeated Diggers in its opening outing and coach Damian Whybrow expects to be challenged on Saturday.
“Beauty Point are one of the sides to beat in T20 to be honest… they’ve got a lot of dangerous players for this format in their side like Jason Savage and Robbie Crane. Despite ACL losing to Longford, we know what they’re capable of,” he said.
ACL coach John Kedey said he was rapt with his side’s win against newly promoted Legana and that the players learnt from a “reality check” against Longford.
“In a way, these T20s are our pre-season before the proper season starts,” he said.
“I see Cressy as one of the big improvers this year as they have added some depth, giving them some real talent with both bat and ball.”
Beauty Point coach Rob Crane said Zac Cooke, Adam Turner and Sam Cooke would play.
“We had a tough first two games against Hadspen and Longford on Saturday, but had a good win over Legana,” he said.
“Gavin Nutting is bowling well and I’ve been impressed with young Jayden Hinds.”