LADDER-leader Nestles won’t finalise its side for the knockout semi-final against reigning premier Allansford until tomorrow.
Nanjing Night Net

Captain Brett Eldridge, who missed last week’s final regular season game through suspension, is an automatic selection, creating a headcahe for selectors.

The Factory also has to squeeze teenage batsman/leg-spinner Louis Herbert back into the XI after he attended a pre-season North Ballarat Rebels football training camp last week.

Eldridge revealed Nestles was still trying to clarify the eligibility of Brayden Harkness, who has missed much of the season while travelling overseas.

But he is a proven performer with the club. “We’ve got a squad of 13 we can pick from,” Eldridge said.

“I’ll see what the weather is up to before we make any decisions.”

Eldridge said Herbert’s right-arm leg-spinners had been a revelation this season.

“He’s a nice, tall kid and he gets that little bit of bounce rather than being a traditional leggie who skids them through a bit more,” he said.

Opponent Allansford is also playing its cards close. The Gators named 12 last night, with opening paceman Tim Abraham staking a claim for a recall after missing last week with an injury.

Merrivale captain Michael Walsh last night put experienced batsman Matthew Wilkinson through a searching fitness test. Wilkinson missed the final game of the regular season with a hamstring injury.

Walsh said he would wait until tonight to assess how Wilkinson pulled up before finalising his side for the semi-final against West Warrnambool at Dennington Recreation Reserve.

With Merrivale fielding sides in the division three and four semi-finals, Walsh said a decision had to be made as early as possible, with tonight the deadline.

Opponent West Warrnambool will take an unchanged side into the semi-final. Captain Andrew Robb said teenagers Tom Smith and Will Mills would make their division one finals debuts after outstanding seasons.

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