It is now time for the teams to have worked out their weaknesses and strengths, addressed them and move onto the working part of the season. The part where things both slow down and speed up at the same time. At the top of the standings we have Maitland and Helderberg with the easier of the fixtures this weekend and we have a near bottom of the log clash between Battswood and Devonshire Rovers.
Our pick for the match of the weekend will be the Battswood / DR Game, but lets 1st look at the other fixtures for the weekend.
Maitland vs Thistle at Ottery.
I think that though Anele Ndlangaluvu, for Thistles on a good day will make life very tough for any team in the league, the Maitland bullpen will be too much for Thistles. The wind out at Ottery blows just like it does at 14th Ave but from a different angle to what the Giants are used to. After that, it should all go Maitland’s way. Giant’s offence is the best in the league with scoring an average of 11.5 runs a game and eventhough one of their Ace’s Jayde Thorne Pitched a couple of innings in the SA Squad vs Cape Town Inv team, he will no doubt be ready if needed on the hill on Saturday. Our choice here is a tight start, till a rally that breaks Thistles back and then an easy win for Maitland. (would love to be wrong here, but stats suggest not likely)
Pirates vs Lansdowne
This game is a bit of a quandary for me. On form, Pirates and Lansdowne have the same amount of wins this season but Pirates with one fewer loss. Pirates play much better at home than traveling as does Lansdowne. With the recent loss to Thistle, Lansdown have shown that they can be beaten down on traveling, BUT with the recent loss they will also have identified and adjusted for it not to happen again. Helderberg on the other hand were pushed hard by a resurgent Devonshire Rovers team last weekend being 3-3 in the 7th and eventually running out 8-6 winners in 9. I think that the odds favour the Pirates here, but they are going to have to play and play well to get the two points out of the Eagles hands. Much depends on the starting pitchers for the Eagles. (close game, Pirates to take it by a few runs)
Battswood vs Devonshire
The two teams share a win and the last outing was at Battswood with a 1-0 victory going the way of the home team Battswood. Both teams need this win as it will take some pressure off. Devonshire have it all to do as they are currently on a 4 game losing streak, but certainly showed some form of growth in the Helderberg game. Both teams have the pitching to make life really tough for the opposition so unfortunately much comes down to the umpire in charge. Nelson and Liall face Shelton and Kieran and this is going to be a duel that will be worth watching. Playing at home vs playing away will not bother Battswood much as the venues are similar to each other and the players are not traveling for hours, this is a local derby once more. Stats show also that offensively they teams are very close with Battswood scoring 68 to Rovers 63 and defensively even closer with Battswood letting in 94 to the 96 of Rovers. Here this game is going to go the way of the pitcher that can throw where the umpire calls it and unfortunately for Rovers, that will probably by Liall for Battswood. However, if the Rovers pitchers can release their full arsenal at Battswood, this game will go their way. Our Pick for this crunch match is Rovers by 2 runs, BUT….
The reason that people say, “May the best team win” is that the best team does not always win, and that is the beauty and the marvel of sport.