Nestles will be bolstered by the return of former Big Bash League and state cricketer Tim Ludeman for Thursday's Sungold Cup Twenty20 finals.
The 35-year-old hasn't played since December 3 due to work commitments overseas and a holiday to Tasmania but will pull on the kit once again in a mighty boost for the Factory, who play Warrnambool and District Twenty20 champions Port Fairy for a spot in the grand final later on in the day at Uebergang Oval.
Skipper Jake Hetherington said the return of the former South Australia, Adelaide Strikers and Melbourne Renegades keeper-batsman would benefit the group in a variety of ways.
"I think having him around lifts the players up. Being a first-class and star player, we can just sponge off him a bit," he said.
"He's amazing to watch bat and him helping out in the field is great. It's definitely a bit of a boost for the playing group having him back.
"Having him back, hopefully he can just do what he does with the bat which will be exciting."
With a large crowd expected to turn out on the public holiday for the semi-finals which begin at 9.30am, the Factory leader said the group understood the importance of the occasion.
"We probably haven't set T20s on fire the last few years to be honest," he said.
"Just to make (the finals) is a pretty proud moment for the club and to be able to hopefully get some more money in the club's hands is important and it'll hopefully give the playing group a bit more confidence heading into the pointy-end of the season."
Hetherington said the Pirates were well-rounded with bat and ball and excelled in the field, making them a dangerous opponent.
"They're by far one of the best fielding sides in the competition which ultimately a lot of games do come down to," he said.
"They've got Azza (Aaron Williams), (Jason) Perera and Max Green too who are very good bats and were able to hold up an end and win the Twenty20s against us.
"So they've got good batters and then the bowlers are simple line and lengths that do the job.
"It'll be a really big challenge for us but we're looking forward to it."
The winner of the clash will advance to the Sungold Cup grand final later on in the day, to be played at 3.30pm against either Irrewarra or College who will play their semi-final at 12.15pm. The overall winner of the Sungold Cup on Thursday will net $15,000.
A bumper crowd ventured to Roger Henderson Oval in Purnim on Saturday for the official opening of the new turf wicket facility.
The project, which had been more than three years in the making, was well attended by several interested onlookers including from a range of Warrnambool and District Cricket Association clubs.
Guest speakers on the day included Moyne Shire mayor Karen Foster, WDCA chairperson Gordon McLeod, Northern Raiders co-President Trevor Dowd. There was also letters of congratulations tabled from Wannon MP Dan Tehan, State Member for Southwest Coast Roma Britnell and Victorian Country Cricket League president Kelvin White.
On what was a competitive day on the field, the home club Northern Raiders went down in both the division one and division four games to Russells Creek and Mortlake respectively.
Geoffrey Williams (Nestles) 52; Mark Murphy (Brierly-Christ Church) 66 and 2-32; Jason Perera (Port Fairy) 80; Neil Kelly (Mortlake) 89 and 3-11; Tom Batten (North Warrnambool Eels) 70; Myles McCluggage (Allansford-Panmure) 57 not out; Rukshan Weerasinghe (Russells Creek, wk) 40; Matthew Wines (North Warrnambool Eels) 6-13; Blake Evans (Russells Creek) 4-32; Xavier Beks (Dennington) 3-9; Aiden Grant (Brierly-Christ Church) 3-27.
Eddie Lucas (Bookaar, wk) 103; Thomas Hunt (Heytesbury Rebels) 77; Ned Roberts (Terang) 56; Simon Harkness (Heytesbury Rebels) 59; Tom Place (Pomborneit) 47; Tim Keane (Terang) 43 and 3-11; Travis Brown (Heytesbury Rebels) 47 not out; Tyson Hay (Terang) 3-18; Tom Darcy (Pomborneit) 4-36; Chris Vogels (Heytesbury Rebels) 3-16; Ethan Coates (Camperdown).
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