Eels start T20 title defence

DEFENDING Sungold Cup champion Woodford will start its title defence against Portland Tigers.

Eight teams will contest the inter-association Twenty20 competition, with quarter-finals on Sunday and semi-finals and the decider on Monday.

The Eels have drawn the Tigers in a quarter-final at Davidson Oval.

Woodford coach John Houston said the Eels, who are chasing back-to-back $15,000 Sungold Cup winner’s cheques, were wary of the Tigers.

“Each other team in there has one their association (competition) and Portland have a pretty good level,” he said.

“They will have three or four good bats I would have thought and a few good bowlers. It’s going to be pretty tough.”

Houston said Woodford, which booked its Sungold Cup berth with a 10-wicket thumping of Allansford in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association Twenty20 decider, was quietly confident of extending its winning form.

“We know everyone’s game and know what we’re capable of,” he said.

“We know how to handle it and who does what. 

‘‘We’ve got our game plan down pat now. 

“We can mix and change the batting order if different scenarios get thrown up and up to now I think our fielding has been a bonus for us.

“We are ticking the boxes in all the areas at the moment but you’re only as good as your next game.

“It’s up to us to make sure we start positive and assert our authority on the game.”

Houston said the Eels’ top order — Nick Butters, Luke Wines, Jacob McKinnon, Kory Howlett and Hamish Withers — had done the “lion’s share” of the batting and would be called upon again.

He rated Woodford’s bowling strong, highlighting  Anthony Jackson’s ability to “come on and do the right things”.

Reigning runner-up Grampians plays Tatyoon in its quarter-final following the Eels-Tigers’ showdown.

Irrewarra meets Panmure and West Gambier plays Noorat in the other quarter-finals at Dennington Recreation Reserve.

The semi-finals and grand final are at Allansford on Monday.

justine.mc@fairfaxmedia.com.au 

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