Every game is like a final for St Anthonys as it looks to secure a top two finish in Gisborne and District Cricket Association B grade.
With little more than two points separating the top three sides, it’s not only wins that will be crucial – runs and wickets will play a big part in which two teams get home finals.
The Saints are sitting in second place and have the same number of wins as Wallan and Eynesbury.
Saints captain-coach Cameron Clayton said they were very aware of their situation.
The biggest of the matches remaining for the Saints will unfold this weekend against Eynesbury.
“If you drop one game you’re back in the pack,” Clayton said.
“The idea is to keep winning. We’re playing Eynesbury … in the first game [between the two sides], a two-dayer, it was really good for us.
“They will want to bounce back, so this game is massive for us.”
After the Saints excelled with the bat in the first part of the season, Clayton said the aim now was to step it up with the ball.
The Saints have scored the highest tally of runs for the season, but out of the top four have taken the least wickets.
“We’ll be looking to improve our bowling a little,” he said. “It’s more about keeping sides to a decent level for us to chase.”
Clayton said that while the Saints’ top side was in a good position, the most pleasing thing was where St Anthonys was at overall.
He said the club was in the best position it had been in a long time, both on and off the field.
“The seconds are travelling nicely in second and the thirds are clear on top,” he said. “The fourths and fifths are just outside the top four.
“The kids are starting to stand up, too. Conrad Farrugia made a century in the fourths the last round before Christmas.
“The kids are so keen and are really pushing to play in higher positions.”
Clayton said eight club juniors would be part of representative squads in the next couple of weeks – a pleasing sign for the club.
It’s not just the juniors representing the club, with Clayton and Nathan Dantonio both named in the GDCA’s country week team to play next week.
“It’s a really good experience for Nathan, who hasn’t had the chance before,” Clayton said.
“It’s good for the club to have players in representative sides”
The Saints’ match with Bacchus Marsh, which was due to be played on Saturday, will now be played on February 4. All of Saturday’s games were postponed due to the heat.
In McIntyre Cup matches this weekend, Diggers Rest Bulla will host Bacchus Marsh.