THEY snapped a four match losing streak and secured a semi-final spot in the process.
Yet Hibo-Tully Park skipper Mik Webber knows a repeat performance against frontrunners Robertson could prove fatal in cricket terms.
Hibo-Tully returned to the winners’ circle with a four wicket victory over Moss Vale at Bradman Oval on Saturday, climbing to outright second in the process.
A win over Wingello in this weekend’s two-day match at Kenmore will guarantee the locals second place and a second bite of the cherry come finals time.
The problem, Webber says, is the team’s form.
While last summer’s grand finalists have taken more wickets and at a better rate than any other team, their performance with the bat has been below-par.
Jesse Cao and James Armstrong rescued the Goulburnians from a fifth defeat in succession with an unbroken 60-run stand. Had it not been for wily all-rounder Justin Rowlings, who made 47, the visitors would have lost. And comprehensively at that.
As it turned out, Cao, who finished with 30, and Armstrong, not out 28, steered Hibo-Tully past their target of 142 with four overs to spare. At one stage, they’d slumped to 6/83.
It could well be a season defining partnership.
“Our batting’s been a problem,” Webber, who only managed three, said.
“We can’t afford to be six for 80 in a semi-final because we won’t be able to get ourselves out of that.”
There doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with the form of each batsman in the team. Rowlings has been a regular contributor and Dane Stevenson one of the leading run-scorers in the competition.
Josh Watling, Jesse Cao and James Armstrong have each contributed thus far.
Hibo-Tully Park’s problem, it seems, is getting multiple batsmen firing on game day.
They haven’t had any such qualms with the pill, however.
Webber wreaked havoc on Moss Vale in his return match from injury, bagging four wickets in a nine over spell that included four maidens.
Brad Mitchell filled the opening bowling shoes of his unavailable vice-captain Brad Smith, jagging two wickets. Rowlings and Mitch Cook each picked up a wicket and off-spinner Stevenson two.
“Our bowling and fielding was as good as it’s been all season,” Webber said.
“They’re by far the best parts of our game… For some reason our batting’s a bit off.”
Minor-premier in waiting Robertson will be wary of their out-of-touch rivals. The weekend’s match marked the return of Mik Webber, who’s been sidelined for two months.
Now he’s fit, firing and fresh approaching the semi-finals.
“Bowling on the weekend for me was good,” he said.
“Normally at this time of year, you’re physically drained, but now I’m feeling fresh.”
They’re precisely the kind of words that will keep the defending champions on their toes.