Diggers, North set for combat
DIGGERS and North Bundaberg are poised for a battle royale as they each seek to enhance their Archem Premier League top-two prospects when they go head-to-head at Martens Oval tomorrow.
Across The Waves, who have got back on a roll after two heavy losses to Diggers, have the inside running to the league championship, leading on 35 points with three matches remaining, and taking on the win-less Alloway tomorrow.
But the race for the three remaining semi-final positions looks set to go right down to the wire, with Diggers and a resurgent Bingera level on 32 points, just one more than North, with all three sides having only just two games left.
Diggers won eight games in a row before conceding a late goal to go down to Waves 2-1 in the Football Bundaberg Cup final last Saturday, but North have been hot and cold over the past two months, and they are coming off a 7-2 league defeat at the hands of Waves nine days ago.
Diggers coach Lynn Hodgkinson was far from disappointed with their performance against Waves last week, but knows they must win tomorrow to stay on track for a qualifying final berth.
"I thought we played really well (in the cup final). Things just didn't come off for us, but that happens,'' Hodgkinson said.
"Full credit to Waves. I thought that was the best they played all year, and we caught them on a night that they were hot, but there was no lack of credit on our part.
"But these knock-out cups are little bonuses along the way, and at the end of the day (year), all that counts is the (league) grand final and we want to be there.''
Hodgkinson said keeper Alex Brisbane was again outstanding.
"Also Sam Simpson had another real strong game, Ronald (Gouwentak) scored a beautiful goal and was good all night, and Whitey (Michael White) was just tremendous, and we need more of the same from them again,'' he said. "But Eagles (North) won't be easy. They're also a good side and also have got plenty to play for.''
Despite Alloway's disappointing season and the fact they have long been out of finals contention, Waves will not be taking them lightly after escaping with a 2-1 victory the last time the two sides met, courtesy of two late goals.
When they have been at or close to full strength, Alloway have been extremely competitive against every other team. One of Waves' young gun teams will be chasing another trophy when their under-18s start a hot favourite against Diggers in their division's cup final tonight.
Three GIB Skincare Ladies League matches will also feature on tonight's program, with leaders Alloway keen to bounce back from their loss to Bingera when they oppose Burnett Heads United.
Back in form Bingera and Brothers-Aston Villa meet Moore Park and North respectively.
Action will also be thick and fast at Martens Oval on Sunday when Bundaberg hosts Maryborough in all grades in the last round of the Wide Bay Championships.