Who wants third spot?

Jordan Hammond and his Hawks will be eager to take the field this week. 323332 Picture: GARY SISSONS

By Marcus Uhe

The opportunity to solidify a grip on the third seed in DDCA’s Turf 1 is up for grabs on Saturday in Beaconsfield’s clash with Hallam Kalora Park.

The sides with the two best percentages of the teams on 15 points meet in a contest of acute significance, despite coming before the Christmas break.

The Hawks have been affected by the wet weather almost as much as anyone so far in the current season, starved for opportunities in the middle where other teams at other venues managed to press-on.

There’s no doubting their quality but the lack of match play is bound to catch up with them soon.

Beaconsfield’s one-day prowess was well-established last season, clinching the Turf 2 premiership, but the step up in grades will offer a new level of challenge for Mark Cooper’s Tigers.

Having struggled with the bat for much of the season, the top order will have the chance to play with a more attacking mindset and the liberation of not being tied-down by quality seam-bowlers for long periods in red ball cricket.

Berwick’s clash with Buckley Ridges will put the Bears’ return to prominence under the spotlight, with Jake Hancock’s expected absence set to severely diminish the batting line-up.

Much responsibility has fallen to Hancock with the blade this season but the pressure will fall to the likes of Matthew Hague and Matt Robertson to keep them alive with the blade.

Given the brutal performance in the T20 competition last week, Berwick will back its ability with the white ball, but Buckley Ridges has made the last two grand finals in this format and remain a force to be reckoned with.

Both St Mary’s and North Dandenong have the chance to ignite their campaigns when they go head-to-head in a battle of the competition’s true enigmatic sides.

St Mary’s batters will relish the chance to play their natural attacking style, while North Dandenong will seek to make the most of home conditions at Lois Twohig Reserve.

Narre South, meanwhile, can complete a tough three-round stretch with a win when they head to Springvale South.

The Lions have faced Buckley Ridges and Hallam Kalora Park in the last two rounds, meaning the Bloods will make it the third of last year’s top three in consecutive weeks.

Unlucky not to take the points in either match, having found themselves in winnable positions, a win will do plenty to frank the Lions’ positive few weeks and get some well-deserved reward for effort.

That being said, it will take plenty to get the better of a rollicking Springvale South.

Tips: Beaconsfield v HALLAM KALORA PARK, Berwick v BUCKLEY RIDGES, North Dandenong v ST MARY’S, SPRINGVALE SOUTH v Narre South.