“Woah, we’re halfway there,” as a wise man once sang. After this weekend, we’ll indeed be exactly at the halfway point in the Toyota Minor League Cricket Championship presented by SLING TV, and the contenders are really starting to shake out across all four divisions.
Let’s take a look division-by-division – remember, only the top two teams in each one will qualify for the Conference Semi-finals on Sept. 25-26.
So, where will the West be won? Right now, it’s looking like a three-horse race for the top two spots. And it could be an almighty battle: the Grizzles are unbeaten at the top, but both the Strikers and Blazers have only lost won game apiece. Don’t count out Seattle, though: after a tough start, the Thunderbolts have won three straight games, with Andries Gous on fire with the bat.
The key match-up to watch this weekend will come on Sunday afternoon, when the Strikers host the Grizzlies at Morgan Hill. Will the tremendous death bowling shown by the Silicon Valley bowlers last Sunday contain a Grizzles batting lineup that’s been consistent, but yet to see sparkle from the lineup’s star, Pakistan’s Sami Aslam? Can new arrival Unmukt Chand boost the Strikers batting? Don’t miss this one, live on YouTube.
Over in the Central Division, it’ll be a pivotal weekend for Michigan Cricket Stars chasing the runaway leaders, the Hurricanes and Athletics, who have each only lost one game so far. Michigan’s team hosts St Louis for a pair of matches at home in Lyon Oaks on Saturday, and will need to claw out victories in both to draw level on points with Austin. If they can keep up the form shown last weekend, highlighted by Ryan Scott’s historic century and the first hat-trick of the season by Matthew Forde, the Stars will be in good shape.
It’s a massive weekend in the Southern Division. Eight games take place, six in the Atlanta area, as a number of teams play catch-up in their schedules. And there’ll be four teams desperate to win for the first time this season to make up ground on the Cardinals and Fire, who have set the pace so far.
Perhaps the most fiercely contested division so far this season has been the Eastern, with only six points separating second from sixth place.
The match to watch here might be the New Jersey derby, as the Cavaliers – who have split their games so far – will look to take a chunk out of the Stallions’ lead on Saturday. You could also make a case for the Philadelphians against the Yorkers, though, on Saturday afternoon – a win would see Philly’s team draw level on points with the men from Manhattan.
Here’s the full line-up for this weekend – catch the streams live on Willow TV’s YouTube channel!