The Hoff is back.
One week out from their biggest game of the season, Launceston dusted off Zac Oldenhof's bowling arm and the top-order batsman responded with a stunning spell of 4-28 off 15 overs that included the wicket of Mowbray skipper Luke Scott.
With star quick Daniel Smith out injured and this round's opponent Riverside boasting four of the league's top 10 run-scorers, the right-armer could be key to Alistair Taylor's Lions regaining third spot.
"This year we've lacked a quick bowler in our top five batting so I posed it to him [Oldenhof] a few weeks ago to start bowling in the nets again," Taylor said.
"He used to bowl in A-grade but he hasn't bowled much in the last three or four years and Sunday was his first bowl - he just hit the top of off stump and got rewards for it. The boys had a bit of a laugh about it, but he played his role beautifully."
With Cam Lynch away, the Lions will again deploy young pair Nick Haydon and Will Bennett as openers.
"We posed the question to Will whether he'd be interested and he took it on and did really well," Taylor said.
"Nick had been opening the batting for us in the one-day games - his game's more suited to two-day cricket so we stuck with him. They're pretty good mates as well which always helps when they're opening together."
The Blues are looking as dangerous as ever after shocking South Launceston for an unlikely first-innings win last round.
Captain Tom Garwood highlighted the need for one of his top six to make a first-innings ton, but said his side was otherwise full of confidence heading into the ladder-shaping match-up.
"It was an outstanding win ... to rock up on the Sunday with the right attitude and take 4-15 was a really good effort from everyone involved," Garwood said.
"We haven't beaten South in a two-day game for a long time so in that respect it's really good and it sets us up for a really good game against Launceston.
"We got bowled out twice so we need to work on that and also they've got a really strong batting line-up with AT [Taylor] and Oldenhof and [Ben] Humphrey always make runs against us."
ELSEWHERE IN SPORT
Shamrocks second-grade captain Matty Allen gets another chance in A-grade as WESTBURY hosts Mowbray.
Teenager Kaleb Williams will open after impressing captain Dan Murfet with his technical proficiency while Corey Briggs will miss.
"[Allen] had a couple of chances in the one-dayers but it's pretty difficult when you're batting at six and seven to come in and have a big impact," Murfet said.
"He'll probably be somewhere similar in the order but in two-day cricket there's usually more opportunity for people a bit lower in the order to make a decent score."
The Shamrocks will go top should they defeat the one-win Eagles but Murfet stressed his side would not take the match-up lightly.
"I think a few of their younger guys are showing they belong at first-grade level and they've got plenty of senior guys that can turn a game on its head," he said.
After posting a gutsy 206 and taking 15 scalps against Launceston, the Eagles regain some seniority with Ben Spinks and John LeFevre replacing Spencer Hayes, Blake Cassidy and Ollie Gibson.
"There were a lot of positives to take out of last match, we're just looking for some more consistency across the board now," Eagles coach James Storay said.
"I'm looking forward to seeing how we match up against a quality outfit."
CRICKET NORTH LADDER
- 1. Knights 38.91
- 2. Westbury 32.00
- 3. Riverside 29.72
- 4. Launceston 26.93
- 5. Mowbray 10.66