All three home teams this weekend must fancy their chances. We have Van der Stel hosting Battswood, Helderberg hosting Thistle and Lansdowne hosting Devonshire. Last week there were no big surprises, but Battswood took the game when we suggested it might well be Lansdowne. But Rovers did make it more tough than the score reflects against a very strong Giants bullpen. Giants are going to have to do more than what they did on Saturday to compete in the Majors, but we are confident that they have a plan in place to address that.
Thistle vs Helderberg
Last week Thistle were not able to field a team to travel to Van der Stel, but we shall see what they can muster this weekend. Helderberg are very much more competitive at home and Thistle will find it tough to compete out in Radlof Park. If the Helderberg that CAN play, arrives they should take this game by 10.
Battswood vs Van der Stel
Van der Stel are still hot, and have way too much muscle and will certainly make life very difficult for Nelson, Liall and friends. However, VDS weakness if we can call it that, is that they are not quite as tough once the foreign pitchers are off the hill. This is the quandary that many local teams face, we can not compete fully yet, with our local pitchers, but with foreigners, they do not get enough time on the hill to develop. I think that if Ashley gets on the hill for Battswood with his variation and control, he may hold the VdS hitters for a couple of innings and then have Liall and Nelson in reserve. Both teams certainly have the pitching to make life very tough for the opposition. BUT then there is the saga of playing at VdS. It is beautiful, but it is tough, a weird dynamic. VdS certainly have more in the batters box than Battswood though and this should prove the difference between the two with VdS running out easy winners in the end game. Battswood need to hang on till VdS have to make their pitching change and before anyone gets uptight here, VdS have more than capable local pitching in Robert, Louis and the master of disaster himself, Bles. But they are not as oppressive as the imports.
Devonshire vs Lansdowne
The last time these two teams faced up, Devonshire were well depleted in every aspect of the game. This time, they may fancy their chances as they are now with a full squad that is playing pretty good ball at the moment. Lansdowne are one of the best supported clubs in the Promo and will no doubt have the crew upstairs doing their thing to add some flavour to the game but it might take more than that to break the 3 game losing streak that Lansdowne are on. It seems that the pitching department of the Eagles is struggling at the moment with Keegan and Adam doing all the work, but they may well have that sorted out by the weekend. Devonshire by contrast does have a bullpen that is not only firing but is starting to fill up now as well with Gershwin Rabe and Jason Adonis coming to the party to assist Shelton and Kieran in their duties. Jason went 5 innings against Giants on Saturday and made it very tough for them. Then we will have a look at the hitting of the two teams, in the last outing, Eagles did not get many hits of VdS, but Rovers only got two off Maitland, so they would be more of less equal here on that footing but I think that the young and mobile team and the running game that they have been able to cultivate this season could prove the deciding factor by turning singles into doubles and doubles into triples. Lansdowne certainly has more power in the batting department but do they have the depth and speed that Rovers has. So no matter how we look at this, it is going to be some great baseball and at 1 game a piece this season there is much riding on this game. Lansdowne need it to break free of the bottom group, Rovers need it to get into the middle. My thoughts on this is that Rovers could take this by 1 or 2 runs, but a solid pitching performance from Lansdowne will thwart that. This will be a low scoring game, unless one team can break out and get a rally or two together.