The Northern Raiders finals chances have been dealt a cruel blow, with star English Batsman Jack Burnham likely to miss the remainder of the season with a suspected leg break.
After yesterday's washout, the Raiders (seventh) can guarantee a finals appearance if they defeat West Warrnambool in the final round. Should they lose and either of Dennington (fourth) or Mortlake (sixth) lose, they would likely finish seventh and miss out on finals due to an inferior net run rate.
Raiders captain Joe McKinnon confirmed Burnham, who leads the competition run-scoring charts on 520, had suffered a the injury on Friday in a fall.
He said the club was still waiting for a diagnosis for the former England under 19 batter, who had been in hospital all night (Saturday) and would have surgery sometime on Sunday afternoon.
"He's had two x-rays and they're fairly certain there's a break there," he said.
"He seems to be going OK. I'm going to pop up and see him later on today (Sunday). We first thought it might have been an ankle but it looks like it's a bit higher than the ankle."
McKinnon said the club's focus was supporting the former England under 19 batter, who was understandably "very flat".
"The club's totally behind him and although we'd love to have him in our side, the club's main priority now is to get him back on his feet and hopefully maybe one day down the track we can get him back to our club because he's a well-loved player in our team," he said.
"It obviously hits hard when we're coming into the back-end of the season but the main thing now is just to get Jack back on his feet.
"Because at the end of the day he needs to be going back to England to play higher level cricket, to try and make it to the highest (level) he can. And with a broken leg that's going to make it quite tough."
The Raiders skipper has faith his side can still get the job done against the Panthers without their star player.
"As you can see from the scores he's a massive part of our team and to lose someone at the top-order obviously puts a hole in our batting line up but there's plenty of other options to fill his spot and we're still pretty confident we can get the win this week which would hopefully get us into the finals," he said.
"With all the support I think we should go alright and hopefully we can do OK in finals if we make it."
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