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Dress rehearsal for semis

CRICKET.

One of the first signs that autumn is upon us is here, with the final week of the regular season cricket tomorrow.

With the leaderboard rankings of both Galaxy World Gisborne Boys' High School and Horouta solidified, this weekend will be a dress rehearsal for the semifinals next week.

That also ensures that Coastal Concrete OBR and Bollywood Stars High School Old Boys will meet in the second semifinal; however, their game this week is of more consequence.

Under the DJ Barry Cup format, the team finishing in second place would go through to the final in the event of a tie . . . the third-place team must win to advance.

With the net run-rate the only thing separating these two teams going into this weekend, the outcome could be a massive factor in how the knockout stages play out.

With their last encounter ending in a draw, OBR have a slight edge coming into the game in second place, having a slightly better net run-rate than HSOB.

OBR captain Ian Loffler says his team know what they need to do to come away with the win. They are familiar with their opposition, having played with and against them for several years.

He says the first four HSOB batsmen are key wickets in breaking through to the tail order, which he believes can be attacked by the OBR bowling attack.

Having missed the influence of their “strike attack” in Jimmy Holden and Dane Thompson, they've had to use their spin bowlers more than expected, which Loffler sees as advantageous going into the game with HSOB.

“It's up to them; they've got to hit it and put the power into their shots.”

Having Sam Patterson and James Torrie in form at the top of the batting order has been pleasing, and he is looking for them to establish the foundation for their innings.

Loffler said that at times his team had got themselves out with poor decision-making. He wanted them to play safe and make HSOB work for their wickets.

Efforts to contact HSOB captain Carl Shaw had been unsuccessful at the time of going to press.

GBHS coach Mal Trowell said that despite their game against Horouta being a “dead rubber”, Boys' High would use the game to develop some of their players in different combinations.

The team would be without their three key adult players — Josiah Turner, Graham Sharp and Nic Hendrie.

Coach Trowell will step in to bolster the squad numbers.

“With the ball, Travis (O'Rourke) and Cohen (Loffler) will spearhead the attack, with ‘Mr Consistent' Matthew Foster backing them up,” Trowell said.

The draw with Horouta last month had been their only blemish since Christmas, and GBHS would be hoping to right the wrongs of that game, he said.

“It's a great opportunity to give some of the squad a chance to shine . . . and a good dress rehearsal for next weekend.”

Horouta captain David Situ said that although Boys' High would be without key players, they were still a good team.

Last weekend Horouta struggled with the bat and he said they would need to bat longer and establish themselves with the “basics of batting” if they wanted to be successful this weekend.

“We need the complete package.”

LINE AND LENGTH: Gisborne Boys’ High School coach Mal Trowell describes medium-pace bowler Matthew Foster as 'Mr Consistent'. Foster is shown in action against OBR in December.Picture by Paul Rickard