Hornets looking to sting Rugby

LAST week South Dubbo skipper Matt Finlay said his side took no pleasure out of the nuisance value the Whitney Cup cellar dwellers are providing in the final few weeks of the regular season, but you can bet the Hornets will be keen on ruffling Rugby's feathers when the teams line up in a two-day contest at No.3 Oval starting on Saturday.

Souths effectively ended Macquarie's season with a big win last Saturday and while it is too late for Finlay's men to launch any sort of assault on the finals themselves, they will still have a big say in the position of other teams.

In the race for top spot Rugby hold a 1.12-point advantage over RSL-Colts heading into this round and on paper their run home looks good with matches against Souths and the out-of-form Macquarie.

But the defending champs know the slightest slip up will be capitalised on by Colts, who haven't played their best cricket this season but have done more than enough to either gain an automatic grand final spot or start as strong favourite in the semi-finals.

Strangely enough Souths, who hadn't won a game prior to Christmas, are still a chance to avoid the wooden spoon if they can win one of their last two matches and Macquarie go winless.

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The GOOD thing about this time of the season is that there is a lot hinging on every game and it will be no different when Colts and CYMS do battle at No.1 Oval over the next two Saturdays.

A month ago CYMS were clear favourites to finish third and gain a spot in the finals but a five-run loss to Newtown has them in a dogfight with the Tigers for that position.

Newtown will start favourites to beat Macquarie, meaning the Cougars need to spring an upset and roll Colts if they are to be in third place going into the final round of the regular season.

There's no doubting CYMS have the talent to trouble any team in the competition on their day, and if they can get Jaspal Bansal, Ben Strachan, Lachlan Strachan and Harry Brennan to all fire in the same match they are a dangerous side.

Obviously Colts need to gain as many points as possible over the next two matches to try and keep the heat on Rugby so this match promises to have plenty of attacking cricket.

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Newtown fast bowler Ben Patterson has had a weird week.

The youngster strained a side muscle early on day two of the Tigers five-run win over CYMS last Saturday and didn't bowl for the last two sessions.

He then went and played for Western in the NSW Combined High Schools carnival in Sydney where, in the last game, he took the fantastic figures of 6/12.

Combined with some solid spells in losing efforts earlier in the week, it was enough to get him into the NSW CHS Second XI.

A keen observer of Western's first game of the carnival was Chris Tremain, the former South Dubbo quick from Yeoval who is now making big waves in domestic cricket with NSW.

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