North Albury batsman Ash Borella will look to reclaim the run-scorer’s lead when the home team chases Lavington’s 171.
Borella was overtaken in round 14 by Albury’s Alex Popko and Belvoir’s Drew Cameron.
The left-hander has 513 runs at 51.30, while Popko and Cameron have 531 and 525 respectively.
Borella boasts three 90s this season, and his insatiable appetite for runs is one of the reasons for his consistency.
“Definitely when you get out you always feel a bit sick in the guts,” he said.
“But I wouldn’t have had the years I’ve had if we didn’t have a good side around me.
Definitely when you get out you always feel a bit sick in the guts. But I wouldn’t have had the years I’ve had if we didn’t have a good side around me.Ash Borella
“With David Farrell and Brendan Simmons there, it takes a load off and you can bat how you normally bat.”
Along with Wodonga veteran Robbie Jackson, Borella has been the association’s most consistent player over the past five years.
He was the leading run-scorer in both 2012-13 and last season, finishing top 12 in the two years sandwiched between that.
North will start favourite to topple the Panthers.
“It probably is under-par at Bunton Park, like we’ll still have to bat pretty well to get them,” Borella said.
Lavington could, quite remarkably, find itself out of the top six, just a month after it was contending for the minor premiership.
The Panthers were fourth heading into the round, but if Tallangatta and East Albury wins, and St Patrick’s can snare another outright win, against New City, they could drop to seventh.
That won’t sit well with the club, particularly given it’s won nine matches, four more than the Patties.
Lavington’s hopes will now rest on its miserly pace attack.
“We haven’t played Lavi yet this season, but on past years Ryan and Nathan Brown are quality players and Brett Davies, I played with him in the Riverina carnival a couple of years ago and same thing, pretty classy as well,” Borella said.
“But if we bat our 80 overs out, we should be fine hopefully.”
Elsewhere, Belvoir will be out to defend its total of 206 against Wodonga.
Irishman Aaron Gillespie was crucial in posting that score, hitting his season’s top score of 48.
He combined in a 55-run stand for the eighth wicket with captain Matt Jaensch.
The Eagles had a flyer through Glen Vassallo and John Spencer, who racked up 65 runs.
Vassallo scored 40, while Spencer added 33.
If Belvoir topples Wodonga, it could leapfrog the home team.
However, Wodonga could still finish minor premier with a win, and a shock loss for North Albury.
It’s the tightest competition in years with eight teams still in contention, with only three days left in the regular season.