The race for the one-day final comes down to the last 50-over round of the season, with five teams still in contention for the two spots – including a surprise packet.
Kingborough have qualified and are in the box seat to host the final, but who the Knights play is between New Town, Glenorchy, University and South Hobart-Sandy Bay.
The Sharks might be sitting on the lowest rung in the overall competition, but their one-day form has been solid and a win over New Town on Saturday at New Town Oval and a couple of results going their way could see them in the decider.
It appeared to be a long season for the young Sharks, but in the past three weeks they have recorded wins over both of last year’s overall grand finallists University and Lindisfarne respectively, in between a one-wicket, last over loss to North Hobart.
Sharks coach Richard Allanby said the club was heading in the right direction.
“I think it is believing in themselves a bit more and working things out,” Allanby said of the recent good form.
“We have a young bowling group without [captain Gabe] Bell, but we knew that, and we wanted to give them opportunities to develop and they are starting to do that with more consistency.”
What was particularly pleasing for the Sharks was the performance of some of their younger, more inexperienced players in the two-day win over Lindisfarne last round.
“It was great for Kaiden Hine [43 off 161] to spend time at the crease and Sam Voss [28 not out] played a very mature innings to get us over the line, so we were happy for him,” he said.
“Vossy has good talent and an innings like his on the weekend will hold him in good stead moving forward.
“In time he can be a very dangerous top order batsman.
“Kaedance Kuepper has relished opening the batting and has a solid year; Jordan Cooper with the ball is improving and learning at every opportunity and just wants to get better; and Ed Gulline has also bowled some nice spells lately and is starting have a good impact on matches.”
This week’s opponent, New Town, is sitting in second spot on the one-day ladder so is best placed to make the final against the Knights, but Allanby said his side was up for the challenge of causing an upset and sneaking through.
“We are playing some good cricket and there is a good feel about the future of this group,” he said.
“We are improving all the time and we have had a good month.
“We will do our best against a good New Town outfit and the team are looking forward to the challenge on Saturday.
“We will put our best foot forward in what is an important game.”
University returned to form in a big way last round, arresting a five-game losing streak by thrashing New Town, and is still right in the hunt for the one-day final if the Lions can defeat the Knights at Uni Oval.
Glenorchy is the other side in contention with the Magpies hosting the Greater Northern Raiders at KGV Oval.
The Pies were thrashed last round by North Hobart, but this performance was more of a blip for Glenorchy that is still in the hunt for the one-day and overall finals positions.
The Eastern Shore derby between Lindisfarne and Clarence at Anzac Park will have no bearing on the one-day final make-up, but both have plenty to play for in the overall competition.
The women’s one-day competition is equally as tight, with the Raiders coming off consecutive losses that has seen them relinquish top spot to New Town – this Sunday’s opponent at UTAS Stadium.
North Hobart will be keen to back up its strong performance from last round – a 10-wicket thrashing of the Raiders – by inflicting more pain on Clarence, which is yet to win a one-day game this season.