HE might fly under the radar as Dennington co-coach, but Jamie Fogarty will be the centre of attention today.
The 38-year-old resumes his eight-ball innings this afternoon when the showdown for top spot on the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) division one ladder climaxes.
Fogarty (0) and Josh Squires (13 not out) are hoping to stabilise the Dogs’ innings, which resumes at 3-41 as they chase defending premier West Warrnambool’s 124.
A victory for the second-placed Dogs would elevate them to the top of the ladder, while a loss could see them start next week’s semi-finals in third.
“No pressure,” Fogarty said of the situation. “If we go out there and do the right things, then the result will look after itself.”
The left-handed batsman/wicketkeeper’s calm approach is reflective of an experienced player.
He was part of Dennington’s two most recent division one flags, in 2005 and 2006, and has shared the coaching duties with good friend Dustin Drew for the past three seasons.
Fogarty revealed a more relaxed approach to the game came with age and the added responsibility of coaching.
“It (the coaching) has had a massive impact on me. You look at your own game more and you look at people’s roles and the work they are putting in as cricketers and non-cricketers around the club,” he said.
“It’s probably more with age but you become more aware of your role in the team and you become more aware of your own game.
“I’m 38 and I’m enjoying it immensely. Blokes moving into their 30s start becoming more aware of their strengths and weaknesses.”
Fogarty said working with a host of Dennington young players had sharpened his own technique and mental approach to the game.
He knows he will need all his inner strength when the Panthers charge in this afternoon desperate to retain top spot.
“The plan will be to get through the first half hour and try and take a bit of sting out of the game,” he said.
He said the Dogs hadn’t looked beyond chasing the 124.
He knows the experience of being in a big game will help the two 15-year-olds and one 16-year-old who did well with the ball last week.
The Dogs have been regarded as a better bowling team than batting this season, a tag Fogarty disagrees with.
“I haven’t heard it but we are fairly focused on ourselves,” he said.
“I guess you could say we are a fairly selfish side. We are just worried about us and the opposition can do their thing. We have to work hard, bat well and bowl well.
“We have made 190 to 195 three times since Christmas and that’s been with minimal input from (Kahinagalage) Silva and Dustin (Drew) and I think that shows we have a lot of blokes who can bat and we bat right down.”
While Dennington and West battle for top spot, fifth-placed Russells Creek needs 225 to oust Merrivale (6-224) from fourth and grab the last spot in the semi-finals.
In other games, sixth-placed Port Fairy resumes at 1-74, already 12 in front of Nestles (10th).
Third-placed Woodford (187) knows it needs a win and bonus points from its match against 11th-placed Nirranda if it wants to get to second, should Dennington lose. Nirranda resumes at 0-11, while 10th-placed Allansford resumes at 1-28 chasing Brierly-Christ Church’s 146 at Brierly. Bottom side East Warrnambool-YCW resumes at 0-1 chasing eighth-placed Wesley-CBC’s 154 at Walter Oval.