Soft pitch to cause problems as Souths chase Colts' total

After doing a job with the ball last week, Tim Berry will need to back up with the bat for Souths. 	Photo: JOSH HEARD
After doing a job with the ball last week, Tim Berry will need to back up with the bat for Souths. Photo: JOSH HEARD

THE covers may have been laid but there is every chance RSL-Colts and Souths will be on a wet wicket when they line up on day two of their Whitney Cup clash at No.1 Oval on Saturday.

A malfunction of the sprinklers at the ground resulted in heavy watering on Wednesday night, with the wicket damp prior to Friday's downpour at Dubbo.

Colts head into day two in the box seat having posted 308 on day one, led by Brad Cox's innings of 108 and some solid assistance from Nathan Jones (70no) and Will Wolter (67).

The sprinkler problem combined with the rain means Souths will have to deal with not only a damp pitch but a slow outfield as they chase their first win of the season.

But Colts aren't without their problems either.

Opening bowlers Sean Mason and Dharmendra Mepani are both missing, with Mepani's unavailability only being determined after the match started, meaning Colts can only put 10 players on the field on Saturday.

Their captain, Chris Morton, admits he has a few things to weigh up.

"We're pretty short on seam-bowling options so I'd say Tim Howarth and myself will take the new ball and maybe Matt Keenan can bowl a few seamers as well," Morton said.

"Matt Saul, Greg Buckley and Will Wolter can cover the spin but I'm not sure if we'll fully be able to take advantage of the bit of life that will be in the pitch for the new ball."

Morton would love to see play possible as his side endeavours to stay in touch with Rugby, who are a big chance of gaining outright points if they can get on for day two of their clash with Newtown.

But Morton admits his side can only focus on what they do against Matt Finlay and his Hornets side.

"Souths have been a bit unlucky this year," Morton said.

"Their losses have been pretty tight and they have guys like Matt and Nathan Finlay, and Tim Berry that we need to get out early because if they bat for a while they will score runs and 308 is possible.

"Ideally we can get out there and get the win and perhaps Rugby don't play and they only get first-innings points from last week and not the outright, because that would keep us level with them."