NESTLES can salvage success from a below-par campaign when it takes on Woodford in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) Twenty20 final tonight.
The Factory has celebrated just two wins from seven home-and-away matches to date but has lit up the Twenty20 Tuesday night tournament with hard-hitting displays.
That form, coupled with a dose of off-field good fortune, has lifted it into the decider against the Eels at Jetty Flat. Co-captain Scott Kelly yesterday pinpointed batting depth as the reason he believed Nestles would clinch the final and book its spot in the inter-association Sungold Cup.
The cup, played over the Australia Day long weekend, carries a $26,000 prize pool but Kelly refused to consider the riches on offer with the Eels still to play.
“We’ve played in a fair few finals the last three or four years,” he said.
“This year doesn’t look like being the case in the longer form so we’ll definitely take the chance in the Twenty20.
“We’ve got a fair bit of batting depth. I feel like we can be five, six, seven wickets down but still be in no panic. We’ve still got plenty in the shed.
“In a 20-over game they’re going to have to bowl well to keep us to a score they can chase.”
Nestles defeated Koroit in its first knockout match but seemed out of the competition after losing to Russells Creek.
But WDCA officials reversed the result after Creek failed to submit an out-of-radius permit for former batsman Kyle Humphrys, who plays with Northcote. Nestles made the most of its reprieve by beating West Warrnambool in a semi-final, reversing the result of last season’s WDCA short-form final.
Kelly said a score “up around the 160, 170-mark” would be defendable at Jetty Flat.
He said a one-day match defeat at the hands of Woodford in October had given the Factory an insight into the Eels’ top batsmen.
“We bowled poorly that game, we saw how a few of their batsmen can get away if you bowl poorly,” he said.
“We’ve got an idea where their good players like to hit the ball.”
Woodford coach John Houston also highlighted 160 runs as a minimum winning score.
He said the Eels’ strength was depth beyond their top four batsmen.
“We’ve got a good mix below that, probably our five to 11 are capable of making runs,” he said.
“But they’d probably back themselves too. They’ve ended up in the final, they’re playing good cricket in the Twenty20 sense.”
Houston said the turf wicket at Jetty Flat, which favoured teams batting first, could also play a role in the result.
Like Kelly, he said winning tonight would not guarantee success at the Sungold Cup, despite Warrnambool and District clubs’ dominance of the tournament.
“All things being equal we are the better association.We’re potentially playing a better level of cricket each week,” he said.
“But when you take it lightly, that’s when you’ll get bitten.”
The match starts at 5pm.