Both Mowbray and Riverside fancy their chances of securing an outright win heading into the second day of their Cricket North clash.
The Blues need five wickets for first innings points and have 100 runs to play with, while the Eagles will rely on veteran Rohan Pooley (14 not out) and new batsman James Storay to revive a shaky start to their innings.
Mowbray captain-coach John LeFevre said his top-order batsmen had largely fallen to loose shots after a commendable bowling performance in the first two sessions.
“We weren’t that happy with how our batsmen worked to get through that little hour period at the end of the day, but having said that we feel we have enough left in the sheds to get ourselves to that target,” LeFevre said.
“Our message to our lower order batsman is we want to build as many 30-minute to an hour partnerships with Rohan as possible.
“If we can build three or four hour partnerships, that’ll go along way to getting those 100 runs.
“They’ve got to be willing to work hard, bat with him and rotate the strike as much as possible.”
Jesse Homan was the pick of the Blues’ bowlers and will share the ball first up with Sam Artis, who has four balls remaining in his first over having dismissed Rhys Watson off the last ball of the day.
“Our bowlers bowled well and obviously took five wickets, but they’ve got a couple of really good batsmen at the crease and a couple to come,” Blues skipper Tom Garwood said.
“We need to break this partnership and get right into their tail and hopefully have a decent lead to have a bit of a crack at an outright victory.”
Garwood praised young trio Jack Colgrave, Cooper Anthes and James Simpson for their batting efforts in the first innings.
Fletcher Bennett appears to be the key to LAUNCESTON pushing its score towards 250 at Westbury.
The teenager finished day one unbeaten on 32 after sharing in a crucial 70-run partnership with Rowan Smith, and won plaudits from coach Alistair Taylor.
“To get to 210 eight down was a credit to them,” Taylor said.
“I’m rapt with the way Fletcher’s going, he deserves all the credits he gets, he’s had a really good year with the ball and he’s going some good things with the bat as well.
“I think that’s his top score in A-grade as well so he’s done really well, and to bat with Rocket for a long period of time ... it’s probably really good for a young fella to bat with someone like Rowan.”
Harrison Banks is the other batsman at the crease with Jakeb Morris still to come.
Westbury captain Richard Howe, who will lead his team into a Greater Northern Cup final on Sunday, isn’t expecting a declaration from the Lions at the start of play.
The Lions lost four early wickets last weekend before bunkering down, and Howe said his top order would need to bat patiently on what is widely regarded as one of the toughest grounds to score on in the league.
“I thought the wicket had a little bit in it early and then it flattened out to be a really good wicket at the end of the day, so hopefully day two is very similar,” he said.
“I’m expecting them to bat on for as long as they can and it’s up to our guys to rock and roll them as soon as possible.
“We have a team of blokes that like to score so I think if we can bat the day we should be able to chase the runs down – it’s a matter of us valuing our wickets and being patient and taking time to get ourselves in.”
STATE OF PLAY
- Launceston 8-210 (Smith 71, Donald 2-24) leading Westbury (yet to bat) at Ingamells Oval
- Riverside 156 (Stubbs 34, Freeman 3-43) leading Mowbray 5-56 (Watson 16, Homan 2-12) at Invermay Park