Elders Cup juggling act

Coolac’s Tim Graham juggles a fielding attempt against the Colts on Saturday.

As the 2019/20 Elders Cup has reached the halfway point, it has become more apparent that six just doesn’t go into four.

The Commercial Colts and Family are all but no chance of making the top-four, after disastrous starts to their respective seasons.

Commercial are winless through seven matches, while Family have just one recorded win; that coming against the hapless Colts.

In stark contrast, Tumut Plans have one hand on the minor premiership trophy after seven straight wins and sit two wins ahead of their nearest rival.

This essentially means that five teams are fighting for the three remaining places in Elders Cup top-four.

Tumut District Cricket Association president Matt Sturt was surprised it was already the mid point of competition and suggested that whoever misses out on finals cricket, could do so on run rate.

“It’s hard to believe we are already at the halfway mark of the season,” he laughed.

“The battle for second, third and fourth at this stage is going to be tough right until the end (and) I think the team left stranded in fifth might get done on net run rate only.”

Sturt believes the manner in which teams win, needs to be a concern as the season starts to wind down.

“That’s why it’s not just important to win but when given the opportunity, try to do it fast and convincingly to boost the net run rate,” he said.

Sturt highlighted one particular team that was performing well, implying that they could be a dark horse in the back end of the season.

“Its great for the competition and Gundagai to see Lotts in there fighting it out for fourth,” he said.

“I personally think Lotts at full strength could roll any team, and as I said at the start of the season, I still believe they will finish in the top-four,” he said.

On the other side of the form table, Sturt wasn’t afraid to put the pressure on the Donkeys, who are coming off successive defeats.

“The team that I guess you could say is underachieving the most is Adelong,” he said.

“On paper, I definitely had them in the top four at the start of the season but they will have to dig deep for the last half of the season.”

With Sturt’s Plains sitting aloft the table, perennial Tumut heavyweights Coolac and Wyangle sit second and third respectively, with records of five wins and two losses.

Relying on an array of experienced and talented players, both sides find themselves in a good position to push on for yet another finals appearance.

Woolpack Lippers are in outright fourth with four wins and three losses and could be found guilty of throwing away matches.

The talented, yet puzzling side looked winners against Plains last start, sitting at 4/114 before losing 5/5 in the next three overs and eventually losing the match.

If the enigmatic Tumut side lives up to it’s potential, they could beat any team in the competition.

Just outside the top four are the much-hyped Adelong Donkeys and Lotts, both sitting with records of three and four.

The Donkeys have arguably the strongest bowling line up of any team but have struggled with the bat, only scoring above 135 runs once this season.

Adelong have average a mere 110 runs per game with the bat, highlighted by their last-start 43 all out against Wyangle.

Lotts on the other hand haven’t had problems scoring, averaging 161 per game and calling on the likes of Mick Butler and Dan Attwood.

The young Lotts team is slowly working everything out and if their bowlers can complement their batting, they are a team to watch.

As teams enter the second half of the season, trends will start to matter with teams now identifying competitor’s weakness and looking to exploit them in order to gain an advantage.

Time will tell if this proves fruitful and which sides can make their place inside the Elders Cup top four and front up for finals cricket.