By Lance Jenkinson
It will take a Steven Bradbury-like effort for Hoppers Crossing to reach the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association finals now.
The Cats need a whole host of equations to fall their way in the final round to snatch a spot in the top six.
While it is a long shot, Cats captain Justin Goegan believes a finals berth is not out of the realms of possibility.
“If results go our way, we’re playing finals,” he said. “We play Bayswater, who are above us at the moment, at their ground, so if we beat them we’re a chance.
“We just look to win a game of cricket and see what happens.”
Should Hoppers Crossing beat Bayswater, it will need one of Noble Park or Taylors Lakes to lose their final game.
But the Cats can only control what they do on the field at Bayswater, everything else is within the lap of the cricketing gods.
“We’ve got one game of cricket left and if we don’t do well in it, that’s it,” Goegan said.
Of more concern for Hoppers Crossing is their ordinary recent form.
The Cats have been on the receiving end of two hammerings in the past two rounds. In particular, their batting has left a lot to be desired.
They were bowled out for a meagre 121 in a 94-run loss to Endeavour Hills at Hogans Road Reserve on Saturday.
That came a week after making just 91 in a 125-loss mauling from Noble Park.
“We’ve let ourselves down with the bat, definitely,” Goegan said. “We’ve got to move on.
“We’ve all got to get down to training, pull our finger out and know next week’s a new week.
“Today’s done, today’s gone, we’re not going to dwell on it too much.”
Hoppers Crossing began the match well with the ball, having Endeavour Hills in trouble on 2-2.
That is where the joy ended for the Cats, who were powerless to stop a 186-run stand between Mohsin Rasheed (77) and Brian Kulasena (106no).
What hurt even more for the Cats was Kulasena getting dropped on about 20.
“If you don’t take those chances, it tends to bite you,” Goegan said.
“They took a couple of nice caught and bowleds, where our batsmen have drilled them half an inch off the ground and they’ve taken a one-handed diving catch.
“If we take ours, he’s out for 20 and we’ve got a new bloke out there, but he’s gone on to make a hundred and been part of a 186-run partnership.
“The are turning points in the game.”
Brett Smith was the standout with the ball for Hoppers Crossing with 3-31. Smith has been a mark of consistency this summer with 23 wickets at 12.6.
The defeat leaves the Cats in eighth place with one game remaining