Rivals lean to Eskdale – just

OPPOSITION captains are tipping Eskdale to end a 20-year premiership drought when it takes on Yackandandah in the District grand final this weekend — but only just.

The mix of youth and experience is seen as the key to last year’s cellar dweller’s chances — the skippers see Clint Gilson with the bat and Haydon Wilson with the ball as the main weapons.

But all agree the Roos have the finals’ experience and if their captain Mick Walker strikes early it may be a different story.

Wodonga captain Kenny Hayes said that experience would decide the game.

“I’d love to see Eskdale win — what they lack in experience, they make up with enthusiasm,” he said.

“But if Mick Walker fires with the ball the game is as good as over.”

Barnawartha-Chiltern’s Murray Price said Eskdale was hitting its straps at the right time.

“Wilson and Gilson make them tough to beat — they smashed us and we had no excuses,” he said.

“They have the right mix of youth and experience.”

Kiewa’s Shane Streeter believes Eskdale relies on too few with the bat.

“If Yackandandah can get Gilson and Shaun Baude they will have gone a long way to winning the grand final,” he said.

“Eskdale has a great bowling side but are a bit lean with the bat.”

Bethanga’s Brodie Sirl is another on the Mitta Valley bandwagon.

“There are no real stand- outs, but they play for each other and as a real team,” he said.

“On form you would have to pick Eskdale.”

The competition’s leading batsman, Dederang captain Andrew Creamer has a foot in both camps.

“On form you would pick Eskdale but I love an underdog and will be barracking for Yackandandah,” he said.

“But generally the District grand final is decided by one outstanding performance with the bat.”

Baranduda’s Mitch Ryan is backing Eskdale.

“They have too much depth in batting and bowling, and this year their juniors have stood up when it mattered,” he said.

“Shaun Baude is the key for Eskdale and of course Mick Walker for Yackandandah.”

Mount Beauty’s Al Randell said Eskdale just had to play its natural game.

“Yack has the finals experience but if Eskdale can play like they have all year they’ll win,” he said.

The District grand final is decided by one outstanding performance with the bat.

ANDREW CREAMER

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