KIEWA goes into its must-win game against Dederang today without strike bowler Ryan de Vries.
But captain Shane Streeter hopes Canadian gridiron star Josh Bartel and his brother, Jason, may be late inclusions.
Josh, who played in the Grey Cup — Canada’s equivalent of the Super Bowl just two weeks ago — and his sibling returned to the Border this week.
“Clearly Ryan is a big loss. He is our strike bowler and was a key to knocking over Barny-Chiltern cheaply in our last game,” he said.
“We think we have one of the better batting line-ups in the competitions, batting down to No. 11.
“But we’ll need someone to step up and take wickets.
“The Bartel boys are back on the Border and, hopefully, they will get a late call-up. But having travelled from overseas, they may not be available until after Christmas.
“With the way the results are going at the moment it will be really tight when it comes to the finals so you can’t afford to lose ground.
“We do know we can’t expect any favours from Yackandandah.
“They’ll be hurting from losing their first game of the season last weekend and they play to win.”
Kiewa is one of five teams in a log jam between second and sixth in the District competition and less than seven points behind the second-placed Roos.
Also in that mix is Howlong. The the Spiders, too, are looking to carry on with their winning form after trouncing Yackandandah last round.
They travel to Dederang to play last year’s beaten grand finalists who are languishing at the bottom of the table.
Captain Scott Montgomery said he wasn’t reading too much into the Demons’ recent form.
“They are a young side that can ride on the confidence and coat tails of some of their more experienced players,” he said.
“If you let Andrew Creamer get a start, the others will follow and we will look to get his wicket and a couple of other key wickets early to prevent that happening.
“But we have been pretty good with the ball all year.
“Our batting has been disappointing and I take some of the blame there.
“I need to stick around a bit longer and have been working on cutting out that poor shot that has cost me my wicket in the early rounds.
“We need to bat out 70 overs.”