Merrivale batsman Matthew Wilkinson, pictured with his son Flynn, 7 (left) will be watching his team play for a finals berth from behind the fence this weekend, due to injury. IF you’re a fidgety spectator, being injured and forced to watch from the sidelines as your team aims to lock in a finals spot is not ideal.
Nanjing Night Net

It is the situation which Merrivale batsman Matthew Wilkinson faces today when the Tigers take on Woodford in a final home-and-away round clash. The winner will go into the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) finals.

Wilkinson is sidelined due to a hamstring injury he sustained against West Warrnambool last round.

“I’m not a great watcher of cricket,” he said. “I’d much rather be out there and have a bit of control over what’s going on.”

But instead, Wilkinson will have faith in his teammates to deliver at Merrivale this afternoon.

“Obviously I would prefer to be playing, especially being such an important game because if we win, we get to play finals,” he said.

“But there’s no point playing if it’s not right.

“It’s unfortunate but hopefully the boys can get the win.”

The loser of the Eels and Tigers game will be sweating on the result of the Allansford and Dennington clash, with the Gators a chance to climb into the top four if they win.

“We’ve been in the top four for most of the season so, if we went out in the last round, it would be disappointing,” Wilkinson said.

“I think whichever team misses out is going to be a bit stiff.

“There’s not a lot between the sides.

“But we had our chance against West to seal our position and we didn’t play well enough.

“If we do miss out, we’ve only got ourselves to blame.”

Today marks the first game of the season that Wilkinson, who has an average of 24.1, will miss in 2011-12.

The 36-year-old has been seeing a physiotherapist since injuring his left hamstring.

“They’ve given me a rehab program, just building up my running and I’ve been stretching,” he said.

“It’s certainly improved.”

Wilkinson has appeared in at least 10 WDCA finals series, which includes premierships with Nestles and Merrivale.

“My first year at Merrivale, we won the flag. That was 10 years ago,” he said.

“We haven’t won one since.

“I’m not getting any younger, so when you do get an opportunity, you want to try and make the most of it because you don’t know if you’re going to be back there again.”

He hopes that the Tigers’ top order will fire today.

“Our top order needs to set a platform, then ideally we’ll go on from there,” he said before highlighting the recent form of the Eels’ batsmen, including captain-coach John Houston.

“Hooter’s been pretty important for them and (Nick) Butters had been making a few runs as well.”

In the other final home-and-away round matches today, minor premier Nestles takes on West Warrnambool in the top-of-table-clash at Davidson Oval, with the Panthers looking to cement second spot.

Brierly Christ Church is out to snap its winless streak when it takes on Russells Creek, while Wesley CBC plays Port Fairy.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.