This Saturday will see Lotts take on Family Hotel at Owen Vincent Oval for the chance to secure the 2020-21 Hogan Gold Cup.
Going into this season as holders of the time-honoured cup, Lotts went one-up in the best of three series when they defeated the home-town rivals by 38-runs in what was a very entertaining and see-sawing match.
In the opening encounter, Tim Ryan with 70-runs and Tim Myers with figures of 3 for 31 stood out for the victors, while Jake Russell’s 47, and Clayton Smiths 2 for 22 kept Family in the match.
Going into the second and possibly deciding game, Family have staked their claim as the form side with a strong win over Tumut Plains in round-11 of the Elders Cup last weekend. It was the first win of the season for the Caleb Lindley-Kell led side, and the local all-rounder declared that his side is ready to square the series and take this seasons Hogan Gold Cup into a third match.
“Our line up is looking good for the weekend, and I am expecting a very competitive game,” said Lindley-Kell.
“I think both sides are going to be close to full strength, but the win for us last week comes at a good time, and I think it will give us momentum, and we will hopefully come away with the win.”
Lotts are set to have Dan Attwood back in the starting line up after the top-order batsman missed the majority of the current season with an ankle injury. Attwood is confident of being able to match the in-form Family side, but he thinks it will go right down to the wire.
“We have several players coming back after our loss to Wyangle last week,” said Attwood.
“Chris Tozer has done a great job captaining the side in difficult circumstances, with our eleven not being the same from week to week, but with a stronger line up this Saturday, I am backing our team to step up and win a close one.”
This Saturdays match will be played in a finals-like atmosphere, and like in any match of that kind, the result could come down to one or two brilliant individual performances.
Family Hotel certainly have their fare-share of game-breakers, with Dane O’Hehir turning more than one game this summer with his ability with both bat and ball. Opening bowler, Clayton Smith, has proven to be the go-to person for Lindley-Kell when wickets are required, with the 16-year-old taking a very impressive 4 for 8 from 10 overs last Saturday against Plains.
The captain himself can always be relied upon to have an impact on the game, while Harry Nicholson appears to be growing in confidence with the bat as each week passes. Nicholson’s 27 against Tumut Plains, which was part of a big partnership with Caleb Lindley-Kell went along way towards winning the game for Family, and he will be looked upon again this week for a similar effort.
Lotts will look to the opening bowling combination of Jacob and Thomas Ferguson to make their presence felt, while in the batting department, it will be the older heads of Tim Ryan, Craig Ferguson, Dan Attwood, Chris Tozer and Mark Braun that will be called upon to register a good total.
Joel Hodder is new to the Lotts side this season, but he is another player who could contribute to the cup-holders effort to win another title. His medium-pace bowling at first-change has proven valuable this summer.
Family Hotel will not need any more motivation than usual to defeat Lotts, but the chance to keep the competition alive, and therefore providing a chance to win the trophy that they last held aloft in the summer of 2015-16, will ensure that the temperature is raised in heat that is predicted to approach 40 degrees Celsius on game day.