Slick fielding pays off for Gators

ALLANSFORD captain Kyall Timms says his players’ supreme efforts in the field are behind their strong start to the cricket season.

The Gators are on top of the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association’s (WDCA) Hopkins conference at the midway point of the season which resumes today.

They have three wins and a draw from five matches, leading Brierly-Christ Church and Merrivale, and are well positioned to claim a top-two finish.

Asked yesterday whether their batting or bowling has been more influential, Timms instead highlighted their run-saving fielding displays.

“I’d say our fielding has been our standout,” Timms said. “We’ve taken some pretty good catches, we’re really desperate in the field.

“Those half-chances that have been given to us, nine times out of 10 we’ve been taking them. 

“Nick Maddison has taken half-a-dozen good catches all over the field — a couple of good ones in the slips, a good one on the boundary against Russells Creek and a really good one against Merrivale at point.

“Our bowling and batting has been pretty even. We haven’t really dominated a game yet but we’ve been consistent in what we’re doing,” he said.

“Our fielding is what’s keeping us in most games and that’s a sign of a good team.”

Timms said the Gators spent between 30 and 45 minutes practising fielding each training session.

The instigator has been coach Steve Blacker, who has drummed home the importance of fielding well in tight matches. The emphasis has so far paid dividends, most pivotally against Russells Creek when Allansford won a thriller by four runs.

“If you’re going to be taking those half-chances and saving 20 or 30 runs per game, it’s going to be the difference between winning and losing,” Timms said.

“We’ve got a lot of areas to improve on. We’re working on a few different fielding techniques and throwing techniques to give us an extra edge.

“Most players can bat and bowl. They wouldn’t be playing in division one if they couldn’t.

“But you can get that advantage by fielding well, walking in with the bowler, being ready with whatever comes your way,” he said.

“Those little things, we’re working on them at training. I’d nearly give our fielding a nine out of 10.”

But top efforts in the field are not the only reason Allansford, which finished ninth last season, heads the Hopkins conference.

Gault McCluggage has fired with the bat at number five and leads the runs tally with 107 at 53.50.

Pomonal recruit Nick Maddison and Timms have also contributed with the bat while Timms has taken 10 wickets.

“We’ve been able to fight out games well. That’s probably one thing I’m really pleased with,” Timms said.

The Hopkins conference resumes today with round six, the first of five two-day matches, with Allansford playing Woodford at Jack Keane Oval.

East Warrnambool-YCW hosts Merrivale at Jones Oval and Brierly-Christ Church welcomes Russells Creek to Brierly.

afawkes@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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