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Missing stars put teams to the test

Date

Lee Gaskin

Sam Thornton's absence is a blow for Tuggeranong.

Sam Thornton's absence is a blow for Tuggeranong. Photo: Melissa Adams

Tuggeranong's batting depth will be put to the ultimate test with three of their mainstays missing from Saturday's crucial John Gallop Cup match with Eastlake.

Sam Thornton is away with the ACT team at the Australian under-19 championships in Adelaide, while Chris Chellew and Michael Barrington are on Australian Country Championships duty in Bundaberg.

The two representative carnivals give a makeshift look to the competition's resumption after the Christmas/New Year break.

Eastlake is just as heavily affected, with up to five players unavailable due to a combination of representative cricket and holidays, including devastating left-arm quick Nick Winter (under-19s) and his older brother and spinner Matt (country championships).

Eastlake (20 points) and Tuggeranong (18) are second and third respectively on the one-day ladder, with West's/UC holding a three-point buffer at the top at the competition's halfway mark.

Eastlake captain Adam Tett admitted the scheduling would test his team's depth, but was confident in the young players stepping into the breach.

''It's a very important game as far as keeping the momentum in the one-day comp,'' Tett said.

''It'll be interesting to see how both teams shape up as far as their depth and how they're travelling with players out.

''Hopefully our young blokes will step up to the plate and do really well.''

Left-hand batsman Tom Henry will get his chance after impressing in the lower grades, while Indian fast bowler Kunnal Lall is a welcome addition after being sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Clubs had the opportunity to play for a week longer before the Christmas break, but decided in June to rubber-stamp a proposal to finish on the weekend of December 15-16 instead, leading to the early return.

Cricket ACT grade and junior cricket administrator Ben Ryan said while he could understand complaints about the scheduling, clubs and players had their chance to decide what they wanted to do.

''Every club's in the same position, the most disadvantaged clubs would be the stronger ones that have more players away,'' Ryan said.

''You can't please everyone in clubland.

''The representatives on the grade committee from each club voted to play on this Saturday way back in June and that's what we've gone with.''

RSM Bird Cameron/John Gallop Cup (one-day competition), round nine: Tuggeranong v Eastlake at Chisholm 1; Weston Creek v Queanbeyan at Stirling; West's UC v Ginninderra at Jamison; ANU Cricket Club v North Canberra/Gungahlin at ANU North. All games at 11am.

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