MOUNT Beauty will be without Al Randell for its cut-throat semi-final against Eskdale today after the captain’s appeal against a suspension was dismissed on Tuesday night.
The reigning premiers limped into the penultimate week of the season after being run down by Howlong at home last week.
The Power survived as the highest-placed loser, but were relegated to fourth seed and a match against the minor premiers in the Mitta Valley.
Eskdale cruised home in its first final, with a century to Clint Gilson setting up a 200+ score before routing Bethanga for less than 100.
Mount Beauty stand-in skipper Frank Iaria is under no illusion as to the challenge ahead.
“Al is a big loss, he would have been a key to our bowling attack and provides great leadership,” he said.
“And there are no second chances this week.
“We got lucky with results going our way last weekend but there are no lifelines now.
“There looks like there is a bit of weather about as well, so it might be we will have to force a result — if it gets rained out the higher team goes through.”
Iaria said the Power needed to bat out their overs.
“Last week we batted for 63 overs and Howlong got the runs in the 67th,” he said.
“It’s been the story of our batting all year.
“One week we rack up 300 and then the next week we get bowled over for 100.
“If the weather doesn’t intervene we will need to bat out our overs and if we can do that we should be able to set Eskdale a tough target.”
Iaria is also banking on a change of fortune as stand-in skipper.
“I’ve been the captain in the two losses to Howlong this year, so I’d be happy to hand it to someone else,” he said.
“But Eskdale has been unbelievable this year — with the exception of Gilson they are pretty much the same team that finished last and second last in the past two seasons.
“Some of their younger boys have really stood up, it’s a great effort from the club.”
Iaria is also hoping for a change of fortune for batting enigma Sam Drury.
The Englishman, who joined the Power after Christmas, has a 93 and a century to his name, but has also been out for two ducks.
“He was run out first ball when we played Eskdale earlier in the year,” Iaria said.
“But there were no excuses in that game, they were simply too good for us.
“Sam has also had a niggling ankle injury and that appears to be coming good, which means he might be able to bowl this weekend.”