A DESTRUCTIVE West Gambier has emerged as the major threat to defending champion and Sungold Cup favourite Woodford.
The Kangaroos will enter the $15,000-to-win tournament just days after producing two of their best Twenty20 performances in club history.
They posted a mammoth 2-267 against Penola on Wednesday night and backed that up with 8-199 against East Gambier on Thursday night.
Both matches were part of the Mount Gambier and District Cricket Association (MGDCA) Twenty20 tournament, which is still under way.
West Gambier skipper Bray Stephenson said the form boded well for the Sungold Cup. The sixth edition starts tomorrow and wraps up on Monday.
His men booked their berth by winning the MGDCA tournament last February and will play Noorat in their opening match at Dennington Recreation Reserve.
Stephenson said batsman Jason McCrae was the hero on Wednesday night, blasting 106 not out in an emphatic display of hard hitting.
Nick Martin — the Kangaroos’ designated slogger — led the way on Thursday night with 93 while off-spinner Derek Sargeant took four wickets.
“The previous two games we’ve played, they weren’t against the strongest sides,” Stephenson said.
“But out of the whole time I’ve been playing, we’re playing at our best at the moment.
‘‘Everyone is in form.
“Another thing that has helped us (aside from the batting performances) is we’ve got a really good bowling line-up and a good fielding side.
“A lot of the games, we’ve won by not posting very big scores but still being able to keep other teams below them.”
West Gamber has contested the Sungold Cup three times.
The Kangaroos won in 2010, were runners up in 2011 and lost their first match in 2012.
Stephenson said the side would be at full strength, buoyed by the return of South Australian under 17 representative Ryan Hosking.
Sungold Cup quarter-finals are at Dennington Recreation Reserve and Davidson Oval on Sunday.
At Dennington Recreation Reserve, Irrewarra plays Panmure from 10.30am and West Gambier meets Noorat from 1.30pm.
At Davidson Oval, Woodford takes on Portland Tigers from 10.30am and Grampians meets Tatyoon at 1.30pm.
The semi-finals and grand final are at Allansford Recreation Reserve on Monday, on the turf-wicket Uebergang Oval.
The Warrnambool and District Cricket Association under 17 Twenty20 grand final will also be at Allansford on Monday.
Russells Creek Blue and Port Fairy will chase top honours on the hard-wicket oval, from midday.