As mentioned in my last game report from 2008 before the National Finals, this coming weekend sees the autumn-heralding curtain come down once more on the regular season in the NBL South, as Richmond travel to Bracknell for a double-header. Players from the two teams have one last chance to improve (or spoil) their season statistics. Many categories are one stitch short of being sewn up, but a handful are still yet to be decided. Full sortable stats can be downloaded by right clicking here and choosing â€œSave Target Asâ€¦â€.
Alex Malihoudisâ€™s total of 35 runs scored will not be beaten, and his hit total of 35 is also safe unless Richmondâ€™s Ryan Bird can amass six or more on Sunday. Mark Rigby and Ryan Trask are joint top of the home-run standings, with six each, but only Traskâ€™s team, Bracknell, are in action at the weekend. While Trask breaking the tie is the most likely significant change in the standings, Grant Delzoppo of Richmond sits only two back. Troy Kantorâ€™s 18 stolen bases will not be topped and his team-mate Rigbyâ€™s runs batted in total of 32 also looks good to end up as the high mark (Bird is seven back).
Bird will need to go 8-for-8 or better on the day to overtake Phil Clark for the top batting average (Clark has finished the season with a mark of .548). However, it is not so unrealistic for Bird to catch Clarkâ€™s on-base average of .615 as he currently sits on .605. Bird is also in a position to claim top spot in the slugging average standings; he is currently second to Rigby, with the playersâ€™ respective figures being .862 and .831. In contrast to the first three averages mentioned, with on-base plus slugging average Bird is in the lead and can therefore lose the title if he is in action; his figure of 1.436 is not much above Clarkâ€™s 1.401.
Londonâ€™s Brian Essery will finish the season with a league-leading 9 wins and Jared Uys, of Croydon, will not see his figure of 62.0 innings pitched overtaken (unless Bracknellâ€™s Henry Collins has 10.2 or more innings in his arm and happens to pitch in a game that lasts that long). Bird needs nine strike-outs to catch Esseryâ€™s mark of 76. With Bird having struck out nine batters in 3.0 inningsâ€™ work two Sundays back, this is not out of the question.
Kantorâ€™s earned-run average of 0.51 and WHIP of 0.74 will not be bettered, and his strike-outs per 9 innings of 16.81 is only a shade under that of Bird, who currently occupies the top spot with 16.91. Should Bird take to the mound and slip from his usual strike-out pace, Kantor could take a pitching â€œtriple crownâ€.