Spine-tingling finale

February 23, 2018

Tatura will look to skipper Tim Kelly for a big score in its vital chase against Kyabram.

An evenly poised clash between Tatura and Kyabram looks a thrilling encounter to end the Haisman Shield’s final round.

Kyabram posted 246 on day one, on a pitch that could be described as a batsman’s paradise.

Tatura, chasing a win to sew up sixth position and a spot in the A-grade finals, is at least an even money chance of tracking down the intimidating target.

And it has shown it can produce big totals at Howley Oval in recent weeks, making 281 and 287 in its past two showings.

Tatura sits level on points with Mooroopna heading into the final day of play, also with an eight per cent advantage that would require Mooroopna to pull off a particularly dominant win to bridge the gap.

Its top order will all need to produce, but Michael Archer and Tim Kelly stick out as the keys.

Archer made 79 last time out, but has averaged 26.8 this season and needs a big score, while captain Kelly has failed to replicate his early season form in recent weeks with 49 in his past four knocks.

Connor Hayes also has some serious match-winning potential, evidenced by his 131 in round nine.

The Redbacks got 75 from Eliot Callis, 45 from Tom Oliver and 35 from Cade Mueller in a balanced batting performance on the first day of the clash.

However, a middle-order slump triggered by Hayes (5-53), had Kyabram slip from 3-183 to 9-211 when it looked it could make a score of 300-plus.

As a result, captain Alec Young acknowledged it was anyone’s game.

‘‘I think it’s pretty even; it’s a pretty good pitch with a quick outfield, so they’re right in it,’’ he said.

‘‘We just want to see the bowlers hitting the right areas and keep working on what we’ve been doing in the second half of the season since two-day cricket started.’’

Young said the contest, essentially a free hit for his side with it unable to drop below fourth, would be decided by the bowlers.

‘‘If the bowlers get the right areas, it brings our fielders into it and that’s seemed to work for us so far,’’ he said.

‘‘If we get it right that will make it hard enough for Tatura, but if we get it wrong we’ll get carted.

‘‘Obviously we can’t lose fourth and the higher we can finish the better, so we’ll be doing our best to get the win.’’

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