Game On After Umpires' Strike Averted, Butchers Sharpen Knives For Ex-skipper
Saturday November 24, 2007
A WEEK that began with Illawarra cricket umpires threatening to strike, ends with players, clubs and umpires preparing for round six this afternoon.A dispute between the Illawarra Cricket Association and Illawarra umpires over the interpretation of rules relating to rain-affected one-day games was resolved on Tuesday night, averting an umpires' strike.Round six is the third of five one-day rounds this season, with the top four teams qualifying for the semi-finals.With bonus points for big wins, all 10 clubs still have a chance of making the semis, though many clubs cannot afford another loss. Northern Districts are fifth, one point behind Helensburgh, and take on equal second-placed Balgownie at Hollymount Park East.Bally have won both their one-dayers, while the Butchers collected bonus points in their win. Bally have ex-Northern Districts premiership skipper Mark Johnson playing against his former club for the first time. The Magpies recovered from 5-17 to chase down Wollongong's 107 last weekend, with Johnson's half-century the key knock.Bally skipper Chris Sheppard will want a better batting effort from the top order today as the club needs to win two of the remaining three one-dayers to make the semi-finals.In other games, one-day leaders Wollongong take on Wests at North Dalton Park, with both teams looking to bounce back after losses in round five.Wollongong batted poorly against Balgownie, while Wests were skittled for only 105 against University.Both teams will be hoping to bat much better and give themselves a winning chance with the ball.Completing round six, Port host Helensburgh at King George Oval, with Knut Wilmott in form after belting an unbeaten 150 to destroy the Butchers last weekend.Dapto and Corrimal meet in a crucial game for both teams, with the winners staying alive for the one-day semis while the losers are likely to miss out.Finally, unbeaten University remain the team to beat in all forms of the game this season and host Keira at University Oval.One-day standings: Wollongong 10, Balgownie, Uni 8, Helensburgh 7, Northern Districts 6, Keira 5, Dapto 5, Wests 5, Port 2, Corrimal 2.