Captain says Woodford can climb out of trouble

CAPTAIN John Houston is confident Woodford can lift itself out of a hole when play resumes in its clash against East Warrnambool-YCW today.

The Eels finished day one at 3-25 in reply to the Broncos’ 230 at Jones Oval and need a further 206 with seven wickets in hand for a season-defining win.

Victory would keep them in the hunt for second spot in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association Hopkins conference, with one match to go. But defeat could potentially be fatal for their finals hopes, given Allansford is in control of its match against Brierly-Christ Church.

The Gators will move one game and percentage clear in second spot should they win and the Eels lose — a plausible set of circumstances.

Houston said the dismissals of Hamish Withers, Jamie Harry and himself in the 10 overs before stumps had put Woodford on the back foot.

But he said there was confidence through the playing ranks they could reach the target. Nick Butters and Hank Schlaghecke are at the crease.

“The boys are really confident we can do this. We’ve played really well all year, we’ve come off some good scores,” Houston said.

“It’s just about being positive and playing our shots to the right balls, not going outside those areas.

“You don’t want to be in this situation. We’re relying on results, we know that. From our point of view, we’re confident we can win both these games.”

Houston praised East for making life tough for Woodford.

“We needed to be a bit more patient with the ball. Credit to East, they had a dip and batted well,” he said.

He said inconsistency was a trait of all young cricket sides, with the Eels one of the youngest in the WDCA.

“We’re a young group but we’ve played together for four years now,” he said.

“At some stage we need to take that next step and eliminate those bad games. I think we’re doing it more often but not enough yet.

“If you take one bad performance out of a game we lost and shouldn’t have, all of a sudden we’re up there.”

Batsmen at either end of the innings produced valuable knocks for East on day one. The efforts of the tail, in particular, could prove their worth today.

Opener Tharanga Fernando made 40 while number eight Joe Whitton hit 53 as the Broncos added 89 for the last three wickets. Eel Kory Howlett took 6-65.

Elsewhere in the Hopkins conference, Merrivale will defend 7-220 against Russells Creek at Merrivale.

Allansford needs 128 runs with nine wickets in hand to defeat Brierly-Christ Church at Uebergang Oval. The Gators are 1-48 chasing 173.

In the Merri conference, Dennington has 9-234 on the board against Port Fairy at Avery’s Paddock.

Wesley-CBC will resume at 2-47 in pursuit of Nestles’ 144 at Walter Oval, a run chase that is crucial to the Beavers’ finals hopes.

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