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Woodford out to claim top spot

WOODFORD coach John Houston says today’s showdown with Port Fairy is worth more than four premiership points.
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Both sides are undefeated in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association’s division one Merri conference from three one-day matches and have already stitched up semi-final berths in next month’s one-day cup semi-finals.

But today’s winner, barring an upset next week, would be assured of top spot heading into the play-offs against an opponent from the Hopkins conference.

“The goal is to finish on top,” Houston said.

“You give yourself the best opportunity to make the grand final if you do. If you finish second you are playing Allansford (top in Hopkins conference) and they are up and about.

“With a three-nil start, we’ve got a good chance to put our mark on top spot in the one-day standings. We’re very keen to do that.”

Houston said the Eels entered the match against Port Fairy unsure what to expect from the Pirates, one of the competition’s big improvers this season.

“We haven’t played them for 18 months because we were in different conferences last season.”

Houston said the Eels’ would focus on their game plan.

“Bowl nice tight lines and force them into errors,” he said of the bowling approach.

“From a batting point of view we have to be positive.

“With the line-up we’ve got with the way we are going, there is no reason to change our batting approach.”

He is upbeat his young side is maturing.

It’s a similar belief at Port Fairy after teenage brothers Travis and Brad Parsons were involved in a match-winning middle-order partnership last Saturday.

Fourth-placed Wesley-CBC plays third-placed Russells Creek at Walter Oval while East Warrnambool-YCW is chasing its first win of the one-day competition when it hosts West Warrnambool.

In the Hopkins conference, second-placed Merrivale and third-placed Dennington, locked together on 2-1 win/loss records, will be desperate for victories. Merrivale is away to fifth-placed Brierly-Christ Church while Dennington has a tough road trip to face fourth-placed Nirranda. Top side Allansford, one win clear of Merrivale and Dennington, can guarantee itself top spot with a win over Nestles at home.

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