STRIKING a balance between offensive and defensive bowling can help Russells Creek secure its second one-day premiership.
That's the belief of paceman Jimmy Elford ahead of Sunday's decider against Woodford.
Creek - arguably the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association's most dangerous bowling attack - is vying to cut down the Eels' in-form top six.
"You mention guys like Nick Butters and Kory Howlett, but they've probably got five other blokes who are great options as well," Elford said.
"It'll be an interesting battle. We've got someone like Pepsi (captain Matthew Petherick) who already has 30 or so wickets and is on track for about 80.
There was a different feel at training, everyone just felt really ready to go.Jimmy Elford
"I think it'll be a good contest. We've played them once in a one-dayer and they just played really smart and waited for a bad ball to beat us."
Elford, who shares vice captaincy duties with Cameron Williams, said finding balance was crucial.
"You want to try to strike early and bowl wicket balls but the issue is they're often run balls as well," he said.
"It can go one of two ways. Last time we played them, we were a bit defensive and I think they got on top a bit early on."
The 24-year-old said he was regaining match fitness after an injury-interrupted campaign to date.
Elford has battled hamstring and quad complaints and has bowled just 41 overs this season but is confident the worst is behind him.
"We've had the two weeks or so off but training (on Thursday) was great," he said.
"Everyone was really bubbly and feeling good about things. There was a different feel at training, everyone just felt really ready to go.
"I'm good to go as well, it'll be a good test for me."
He said Creek's bowling variety was a strength and urged his side to seize control in the middle overs.
"The mix has been working really well. Timmy Ryan stepped up well when I was injured and he just came in to bowl as quick as he can," Elford said.
"The middle bowlers, guys like Shiv (Kumara) has been unbelievable. The way he and Joe (Kenna) work together is really good and it's allowed us to gain control.
"That middle-over bowling cost us a bit last time we played Woodford but I'm really backing the boys to knuckle down and tighten things up a bit."
Both teams have named full-strength lineups for the clash. Creek will feature veteran Nathan Divall, who has recently returned to division one calculations, while Damon Cooper will also feature as part of a 12-man team.
Woodford has called on Jarryd Lewis for his fifth top-grade match of the season.
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