Wins crucial in log-jam for Maitland first grade finals spots

PACE: Raymond Terrace will be hoping Daniel Flynn can make some early breakthroughs against Northern Suburbs on Saturday. Picture: Michael Hartshorn
PACE: Raymond Terrace will be hoping Daniel Flynn can make some early breakthroughs against Northern Suburbs on Saturday. Picture: Michael Hartshorn

Raymond Terrace claims match-of-the-day status for the first time this season when they host Northern Suburbs in Saturday's one-day fixture. 

But it’s a narrow thing with all three games this week likely to prove crucial in the make-up of the Maitland first grade cricket finals.

Raymond Terrace and Northern Suburbs are the two form sides of the competition with wins both sides of the Christmas/New Year break.

It’s an exciting prospect for Raymond Terrace skipper Nick Savage whose team was looking at a wasted year sitting equal last without a win after round four.

Terrace’s fortunes turned with a 123-run victory against City United and they are unbeaten since with victories against Thornton Park, Eastern Suburbs and a washed-out fixture against Western Suburbs.

“The win against City United was pivotal for us,” Savage said.

“It’s given us a real sense of belief and great momentum which we have been able to take into the New Year.

“We got the win against Thornton, but the City victory really gave us that winning habit.

“We had trained hard and played well up to that stage but luck just didn’t go our way.

“That’s changed and we are holding our chances, batting well and bowling and fielding well as a team.

“Norths will be a big test for us. It’s not make or break but it certainly would be good get the result.”

Northern Suburbs are top of the ladder equal on points with Kurri Weston, who they defeated in a high-quality game at Lorn Park last week.

They have been a bogey side for Raymond Terrace in recent seasons, handing them several thrashings.

City United skipper Matt Trappel is confident his team can build momentum after their last round win against Thornton, their first since round two.

Trappel, who leads probably the competition’s best batting line-up, was delighted with his side’s bowling and fielding performance and a change in fortune starting against equal-top Kurri Weston

“I think we can go on from here and reach our goal of a top-two finish,” Trappel said of his team which sits third equal on points with Eastern Suburbs and Raymond Terrace.

“Kurri is always a dangerous team, but their batsmen do give you chances.

“Who knows I might even win my first toss.”

Western Suburbs and Eastern Suburbs meet in the final match with the Plovers keen to start the new year with a win after last week’s bye.

Wests are two games out of the four and have to start winning to defend their title.