BETHANGA’S finals hopes are on the line.
The Saints sit just four points clear of last year’s beaten grand finalists Dederang in sixth spot after losing both post Christmas games.
Today they face a resurgent Mount Beauty and will go into the clash without one of their leading bowlers.
The Power are two from two after the holidays and boast one of the most potent batting line-ups in the competition, well suited to the rain-shortened one-day format after last weekend’s washout.
The defending premiers took outright points last round off a sensational batting display which added 130 off just 11 overs at the start of Day 2.
Englishman Sam Drury scored an unbeaten 100 for the Power which included 11 fours and four sixes, but he’s not alone when it comes to hitting the ball into and over the fence.
Opener Greg McLennan has 17 sixes for the season and tops the competition.
Saints captain Brodie Sirl admits it is a potent batting line-up and one his team will have to tackle without opening bowler Haydyn Roberts.
The quick, who has already taken 25 wickets this season, is likely to miss the rest of the season after breaking his leg.
“He did it playing hockey and there is a chance he could play finals but that’s probably a long shot,” Sirl said.
“The pressure is really on us with Dederang just four points behind and playing some good cricket.
“We still have Sam Lowcock in the side and we have brought Matthew Woodhouse out of the reserves after scoring 150 runs in two games.
“They are both aggressive batsmen suited to one-dayers.”
Howlong could tinker with its batting line-up to make the most of big hitting Ian Maiden and Curtis Biggs at Kiewa.
Captain Scott Montgomery said their clash was one of the best batting line-ups against one of the most potent attacks.
“We have five or six bowlers that are all top-line,” he said.
“But Kiewa seem to make a habit of getting 300 and made a big score the other day without major contributions from two of their best — Ash Sutherland and Kelvin Bailey.”