Werribee is riding a wave of momentum into the new year in Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association.
The Tigers will take to the field against bottom-of-the-ladder Coburg for a crucial one-day game at Chirnside Park on Saturday on the back of a two-game winning streak and strong form in the final month of last year in the north-west first XI division.
“We had a really good month before Christmas,” Tigers captain-coach Tim O’Brien said.
“You go back to that St Bernard’s game, when we made 250 and got washed out the next week – I thought we would have been pretty hard to defeat that game.
“We had a tie against Ivanhoe, which we probably should’ve won, then we had the wins over Altona and Hoppers Crossing, so we’ve had a pretty good month after a pretty poor start.”
Stirring wins over their closest rivals, Altona and Hoppers Crossing, meant Werribee’s players were able to enjoy their mid-season break.
Those games were do-or-die for the Tigers and they delivered under pressure.
At home against Altona, in-form opener Matt Dean blasted 109 and O’Brien added 89 to lead Werribee to a commanding 76-run victory.
On its short trip to Hoppers Crossing a week later, it was the Werribee bowlers who dazzled in a seven-wicket win, with youngster Jack Budd leading the way with 3-20.
The two-week block signalled a turning point in the Tigers season.
“Hopefully we can take that momentum going into the second half of the year,” O’Brien said.
“We’ve still got to win most of our games from now on – we probably can’t drop a game … but at least it’s in our own hands.
“Last year, we had to win the last four games to make it and we did it. So we know we can do it and hopefully we can do that again this year.”
Werribee is wary of the threat posed by a Coburg side that is desperate to start the new year off on a winning note after a winless first half of the season.
It will be just one of a number of must-win games for the Tigers as they try to close the nine-point gap between them and the top six.
“In the shorter form, it only takes one player to take the game away from you,” O’Brien said.
“It’s a really important game for us. If we drop that, it’s going to be really hard for us to play finals … if we can win that game, we’ll take some momentum into the two-day format.
“Our one-day form has been good the last few games, so hopefully we can continue that.”