HEATHCOTE cricket co-captain Corey Gilmore is confident his team can play a major part in the Northern United Cricket Association finals this season.
At the halfway mark of the 2017/18 season, Heathcote sits fourth on the ladder, two games clear of fifth-placed Raywood.
Heathcote went into the Christmas/New Year break a week early courtesy of a forfeit from Calivil.
Gilmore said he had been speaking to the Calivil captain in the week leading up to the game.
‘‘He said they were were struggling for numbers around Christmas time,’’ Gilmore said.
‘‘They had a bout of gastro go through the team on Friday night and a few blokes woke up ordinary on Saturday.’’
This Saturday sees the final of the Twenty20 competition but with Heathcote out of contention it means the team’s next outing won’t be until January 27 for the clash at Bagshot as part of the regular home-and-away season.
The long lay-off periods between matches may be an issue for some but not for Gilmore and his team.
‘‘It’s a bit of a refresh, a chance for guys to put their feet up and do something else away from cricket,’’ Gilmore said.
With his side in the top four and holding a two-game buffer on the chasing pack, Gilmore is in a positive frame of mind.
‘‘We’re sitting pretty well placed going into the second half of the season,’’ he said.
‘‘it’s a pretty good position to be in.
‘‘We haven’t played out best cricket yet. It’s something which has been eluding us.’’
Not being able to have a full team to pick from in any given week has hampered the side’s progress this season.
‘‘Especially in the lead-up to Christmas with work commitments and the first few weeks of the season with footy trips on,’’ Gilmore said.
‘‘After the break it should be a bit better. We should have a settled team and be a bit more consistent.’’
Heathcote won the A grade premiership in 2012/13 and again in 2013/14. The next few years saw the side out of the top four before bouncing back to play finals in 2016/17.
Heathcote finished second last season and lost the semi-final to third-placed Dingee who then went on to win the grand final.
It goes to show that no matter where a side finishes in the top four, it could still win the premiership.
‘‘We back ourselves to make finals,’’ Gilmore said.
‘‘Even if we split our games after the break it would be tough for us to miss.
‘‘We’re not there yet but if we win three games it would be tough for us to miss the top four.’’
The big obstacle standing way of Heathcote winning the flag this season in the undefeated Elmore which boasts a powerful batting line-up.
In the last game before the break, Elmore smashed 3/276 off its 40 overs against Raywood.
Openers Matt Gilmour (149) and Chris Smith (101) shared in a 224-run stand for the first wicket in an ominous show of force to the rest of the competition.
Gilmore is well aware of the task that confronts his Heathcote team in overcoming the might of Elmore.
‘‘We played them a couple of weeks ago and they’re definitely the team to beat,’’ Gilmore said.
‘‘They’ve had some really good players come into the side, particularly they’re two openers who dominate on a weekly basis.’’
However, Gilmore remains upbeat as his team enters the second half of the season.
‘‘The last couple of premiers have come from third and fourth on the ladder so it shows if you get there you’re a chance,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve got a pretty good team so we just have to wait to see how things pan out.
‘‘We’ve got the potential to do some damage (in the finals) if we get there.’’