Keira preparing for Wollongong onslaught

Commanding position: Keira bowler Nick Bell helped his side to an imposing position last weekend.  Picture: Robert Peet.
Commanding position: Keira bowler Nick Bell helped his side to an imposing position last weekend. Picture: Robert Peet.

Keira captain Kyle Connor is bracing his side for a fiery Wollongong bowling attack as the Lions aim to capitalise on last Saturday’s dominant performance.  

After two-straight losses, the Lions appeared to get their season back on track during last Saturday’s opening day of play with a powerful bowling display led by Troy Coleman. 

The spinner claimed five wickets as Wollongong were bowled out for 190 on what Connor described as a flat wicket. Keira will resume play at 0/35 and, given the small total Wollongong are defending, Connor is expecting to face an aggressive bowling attack desperate for early wickets. 

“It was good to bounce back after a couple of losses and to make a positive start to the two-day game,” Connor said. “Obviously the game is not over though. They’ll come out firing on Saturday, but we’re in the box seat and if we bat well enough we’ll deserve the win.”  

“They’re an all-round decent bowling attack, they’ll push hard early and put pressure on us to hit through the field. We have to be smart about how we go about our batting. Any one of their bowlers, if they get their tail up, can do some damage, so it’s important we start well on Saturday.”

Kieren Richards and Ryan Smith will return to the crease and Connor is confident that if they can withstand the early onslaught, a big score is on offer.

“It’s a pretty flat wicket up there at Keira, they’ll come out looking to take early wickets and to put the pressure back on us. If either of our openers can get through the new ball next week, they can set the innings up not just for themselves, but for the middle order as well.  

“Wollongong do have an all-round solid bowling attack though, so it will still be tough early on. If we can get through the first 10 overs or so, we’ll look to try and cash in afterwards.”

While Connor would like an outright victory, his primary focus will be securing first-innings points.

“I highly doubt an outright victory is possible. The way the conditions are, we really want to bat time. It’s pretty hard to dismiss people, so we’ll be focusing on first-innings points first.”

A Keira victory will see the Lions leapfrog the loser of the rain-affected Helensburgh-Balgownie clash on the ladder. Play was abandoned without a ball being bowled last Saturday and the teams will face off in a 50-over game on Saturday.

While an outright victory may be unlikely for Keira, the result remains in play for the round’s remaining matches. University hold a 99-run lead over Wests and captain Mitch Calder is desperate to turn the team’s commanding position into maximum points.

Like University, Dapto are fighting hard for the fourth finals position and the Canaries will resume at 3/86. Dapto bowled Corrimal out for 119 and the defending champions will aim to build a big lead before sending the Cougars back in to bat.

Finally, Northern Districts will look to turn a solid first innings total into a commanding lead, with Port Kembla to resume at 1/7, trailing by 164 runs.

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