Brothers will be competitive

CRICKET: After two wash-outs, Brothers must beat Country/Wests in their clash at Salter Oval tomorrow to stay alive when the Whale Cities Challenge reaches the half-way point of the competition.

The Brethren's chances of challenging for a grand final berth received a major setback last Saturday when their scheduled clash with Bushrangers in Hervey Bay was the only match of the round to be washed out.

Meanwhile, last year's grand finalists, Across The Waves (ATW) and Past Grammars, both recorded their second bonus-point victories from as many matches, crushing Cavaliers and a much-depleted Country respectively.

With four rounds to go, they share the lead on the ladder on 12 points, with Bushrangers on nine, Country seven, Australs six, Brothers four and Norths and Australs both on two.

Tomorrow's results could be very telling in the battle for the top two spots, with apart from Brothers taking on Country, ATW meet Norths and are expected to continue on their winning ways.

Grammars can also take a major step towards securing a final spot if they are able to beat Bushrangers Maryborough, while Australs will be out to keep their final hopes alive when they travel to Hervey Bay to meet Cavaliers.

Brothers were thrashed by ATW by nine wickets in their only match in the competition so far after also being smashed in the Twenty/20 competition.

But they have named a much stronger side now, including Matt Turich, who was the leading wicket-taker in the Brisbane A-Grade competition in 2009/10 and whom they re-signed two weeks ago but has been grounded by the rain.

They will also welcome back his younger brother David and paceman Ian Botha, who has returned after working in South Africa for a few years, and Ben Lanskey and Chris Anderson will make their season debuts.

Captain David Boge said it was finally good to have a squad of 12 to choose from, rather than relying on lower grade and young junior players to fill in.

"It is a very important game for us - after last week's wash-out, if we are to be any chance of making the final, we have to win convincingly and hopefully with close to a full-strength side we can do it," Boge said.

"But Country has still got some danger men - Scott Irwin, Phil Proctor and Steve Nichols are their three big men with the bat, but if we can get them cheaply, we are a chance.

"After fielding a team full of juniors and Division 3 and 4 players last time, we have a team with a fair bit of A-Grade experience and we're looking forward to knocking a few teams off their perch before Christmas.

"But being a new team, it will take a while to gel and after missing the last two games, no one is in form, so we'll have to ease our way in when we go out to bat."

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