WANGARATTA Magpies could seriously dint Myrtleford’s finals aspirations after taking the upper hand in their clash at the Norm Minns Oval on Saturday.
The young Magpies side, which was without skipper Simon Patterson, needs just 35 runs for victory after restricting the Saints to just 100 on day 1.
The trouble is, Myrtleford struck back with the ball, meaning the Magpies have just four wickets in hand, including Patterson, who is available for day 2.
Stand-in Magpies skipper Zac Guilfoyle said both sides batted poorly.
“The wicket was a traditional showgrounds wicket,” he said.
“It definitely didn’t warrant 16 wickets being taken for the day.
“It’s a massive challenge for our tailenders to win the game for us, really.
“It’s a great chance for the young guys to hopefully experience a good win.
“Full credit to Myrtleford being able to defend a 100.
“They are doing a good job of it at the moment.”
Much of the Magpies hopes will rest with veteran Paul Akers, who will resume at the crease on 42 with Nic Hallam (two).
The home side is 6-66, with Akers was the only Magpie to offer any resistance with the bat.
The six players to be given their marching orders made just 15 runs between them.
Earlier, it was Hamish Cox who helped skittle the Saints, taking 4-23 from 11.3 overs.
“Hamish bowled really well,” Guilfoyle said.
“We wanted him to take a leadership role with the ball and we are really proud of his efforts.
“Paully (Akers) really dug in and used every ounce of concentration.
“It’s where our young guys need to get to become good A-grade cricketers.”
With Myrtleford fifth on 69.17 points and the Magpies ninth on 61.87, plenty is riding on this result.
With City Colts and Bruck to come before finals, Myrtleford can’t afford to drop this one if it wants to sneak into the top four. The Magpies are not without a chance of finals, either, but results have to go their way.