Brothers Ryan (left) and Gault McCluggage are enjoying playing cricket together for the first time this season. 120302DW03 Picture: DAMIAN WHITEMIDDLE-order batsman Gault McCluggage isn’t short of motivation when it comes to scoring runs.
Nanjing Night Net

The 25-year-old was a member of Allansford’s 2008-09 Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) division one premiership but missed the club’s triumphs in 2009-10 and last season as form and injuries conspired against him.

Today, the right-hander lines up alongside his older brother Ryan as Allansford looks to keep its dream of four consecutive premierships alive.

Gault revealed the return of his 31-year-old sibling to the club after more than a decade away had added to his thirst for runs.

“I’ve never played a game of cricket with him until this season,” Gault said. “It was exciting.

“(Brother and former cricketer of the year) Sam, Ryan and I played a game of footy together two seasons ago at Allansford and that was good.

“He (Ryan) is a real infectious character. He loves his cricket and being around people.

“I’ve got no doubt it has driven me to want to play alongside him.”

While Gault, who missed last year’s division finals campaign after suffering a groin injury in the Twenty20 final, has played every game this season, Ryan has played the past four games after a premature return from South America, where he was working in Peru. Gault said he was pleased to be able to contribute to Allansford’s stable middle order.

He has scored 340 runs at an average of 34, including three half-centuries. His best knock was an unbeaten 81 against Russells Creek early in the season.

“It’s probably one of my more consistent seasons,” he said.

“The team’s number one aim is to enjoy ourselves, regardless of the state of the game. Everyone is having a go and we know that. If you stuff up, we’ll hang a bit on each other and have fun.

“We get on really well. There is always outside clubs chasing players and at the end of the day we seem to be able to hold on to our players because it’s a good place to be around. It’s a well-run club. There is never a dull moment as far as training and games go.

“If we are enjoying our cricket, we are playing good cricket.”

That is something he hopes happens today, when fifth-placed Allansford must defeat seventh-placed Dennington at Dennington Recreation Reserve to make the four. With third-placed Merrivale and fourth-placed Woodford drawn to play each other, the equation is simple for the Gators.

“We just have to win,” Gault said.

“We’ve developed quite a lot of self-belief. No matter what position we are in, we think we can defend it or win from anywhere.”

He said the Gators, after a slow start to the season, had thrived on having to string wins together.

They had won four consecutive games, with only a rain-forced draw breaking the streak before last Saturday’s loss to Woodford.

Rain could yet threaten the Gators’ charge, with as much as 20 millimetres forecast for the Warrnambool area today. If the rain does come, the two-day fixture would become a one-day match next Saturday.

In other games, a depleted Nestles line-up hosts West Warrnambool in the much-anticipated first-versus-second clash at Reid Oval.

Third-placed Merrivale takes on fourth-placed Woodford, ninth-placed Port Fairy faces seventh-placed Wesley-CBC at Walter Oval and eighth-placed Russells Creek meets bottom-side Brierly-Christ Church at Jetty Flat.

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