WITH eight weeks to go in the race for promotion to the Swalec Premier League, all eyes will be on Panteg tomorrow when leaders Usk head to the home of their nearest rivals.
Both teams failed to win last weekend but it proved to be a more costly weekend for the Glamorgan and Monmouthshire League Division One table-toppers.
Usk were given a drubbing by Tondu, bowled out for just 133 when set a target of 220 for a measly four points.
“I think we can put it down as a bad day at the office and we haven’t had too many of those this year,” said captain Tom Robinson.
“We were missing some players, me included, and by all accounts Tondu were just hungrier and more up for it.
“But it’s behind us now, we are at full strength this weekend and it should be a good game.
“I suppose we owe them one after they beat us earlier in the season and if we win tomorrow then we are well set for the top, so it’s a huge game.”
Panteg head into the game after only managing 13 points in a tense clash with Penarth, however, other results meant that was far from a disaster.
Skipper Ian Bird is looking for the batting line-up to fire as they bid for the double over Usk.
“We have had a bit of a blip in the last month but hopefully we can turn that around and peak at the right time,” said Bird.
“The start of the season went brilliantly and it’s just as well because we needed those points to absorb the losses to Rogerstone and Blackwood and last weekend’s game.
“Our bowling has actually been very good but it has been our batting, which we like to think is our strength, that has been a bit off.
“But the law of averages would suggest that Ali Bukhari has a big knock coming after three low scores on the bounce while hopefully I can get a few runs because I have had a pretty lean period.
“It would be great if it all came together this weekend because it’s a huge game and I am sure they are determined to avenge their home defeat earlier in the season.”
Abergavenny could not quite get over the line against St Fagans last weekend, ending on 222-9 when chasing down 236.
But the Beavers are not out of the running for top spot despite that 10-point haul and will be looking to avoid an upset at struggling Pentyrch.
Rogerstone and Blackwood both had games to forget last week, recording five points at Chepstow and two at Pentyrch respectively. Tomorrow they meet at the Welfare Ground.
Croesyceiliog’s search for that elusive first win takes them to St Fagans while Sudbrook, fresh from thrashing Croesy, host Tondu.
Chepstow showed good form in beating Rogerstone last weekend and will hope for more of the same when they travel to take on a Penarth side that have raced up the table in recent weeks.