By Lance Jenkinson
Werribee has been set a tough challenge by Box Hill in its first game back at Chirnside Park in the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association since resurfacing works.
The Tigers will require 205 for victory on a pitch that will be a grind for their batsmen in what promises to be a thrilling run chase.
Tigers captain-coach Tim O’Brien said his side needs to be willing to dig in. “It was easy to stay in, it was just hard to score,” he said after assessing the pitch on day one.
“As long as we can show energy at the crease and keep looking to score, I back our players 100 per cent to be able to chase them.
“It’s going to be a good challenge for us. “If they bowl well, it’s going to be tough to get the score.”
While the task of chasing the score down will be difficult, O’Brien said it was a chance for Werribee to show what it has got.
The Tigers could be faced with such tests in the finals, so this will be a great opportunity for a full dress rehearsal.
“It’s a 50-50 ball game, but if we’re going to be there at the pointy end of the season, we need to be able to chase down this score,” O’Brien said.
“Back end of the year, it’s a good preparation for finals if we can chase it down.
“If not, we’ve got more things to work on. “I’m looking forward to our run chase next week.”
Box Hill survived the full 80 overs to finish on 9-204.
The Tigers bowlers stuck to their task, but O’Brien said wickets were hard to come by on the new pitch.
“It was the kind of wicket that was hard to score on and tough to get wickets,” he said.
“I don’t think we’ve fielded 80 overs for a very long time.
“A few of the boys were pretty buggered at the end of today.”
Pace off the ball seemed to work for Werribee.
The leading wicket takers were spinners Adam Alifraco (4-26) and Michael Kelly (2-72).
O’Brien chimed in with 1-28 with his spin.
“We bowled 52 overs of spin today, so that indicates a pretty slow and dead wicket,” he said
. “The quicks couldn’t get much out of it.”
Alifraco was undoubtedly the stand-out with the ball for Werribee.
“He just puts the ball on the spot and puts pressure on the batters,” O’Brien said.
“He waits for the batsmen to make a mistake and that happened a couple of times today.”