Must-win clash for Hawks to play in finals

KIEWA has all but given up hope of being promoted as it tries to salvage a season that threatens to spiral out of control.

The ninth-placed Hawks host fifth-placed Baranduda in a one-dayer today, with Ash Sutherland’s side needing a victory to remain in finals contention.

“It’s a must-win,” Sutherland said.

“There’s no excuses this week.

“We have ourselves in a pretty poor position.

“We are getting to the stage where the honourable losses aren’t good enough any more.

“We need to put in a full day’s cricket.”

While they are unlikely to finish as minor premier and earn promotion to Provincial, Sutherland believes a spot in the top six is achievable for a club that rarely misses the finals.

After last week’s wash out and a bye the round before, the Hawks have had a 26-day break between games.

Their last completed match was a loss at home to Yackandandah in round 6.

Sutherland said he expected most teams to be below full-strength today before the Christmas break.

“It’s not ideal preparation coming into Christmas,” he said.

“I think the Christmas curse will hurt everyone this week.

“People have Christmas parties on.

“It’s a matter to see what sort of mindset people turn up in.

“We haven’t been able to pick a full side every week but we’ve got a strong 14 we can pick from.”

Baranduda, which has been good with the bat but needs improvement with the ball, enters the round 9 game hoping to avoid a third loss in four games.

The Rangers have taken the second most wickets of any club, 75, but have the second worst batting record — 720.

Andrew Russell and Rohan Pearce have 36 wickets between them, with Pearce the club’s leading run-scorer with 116.

Sutherland leads the competition with 303 runs and has been rewarded for his form with selection in the Cricket Albury-Wodonga squad for its SCG Country Cup quarter-final away to Lisarow Ourimbah next week.