Greg Mears, from Tucabia Blue, will be one of the key players against Tucabia White at Ellem Oval today.
Greg Mears, from Tucabia Blue, will be one of the key players against Tucabia White at Ellem Oval today.

Adamson keen to stay at the top

THE chase for the Premier League cricket title is set to intensify after the Christmas/New Year break as teams chase finals spots.

The action will resume today with one-day games.

At Ellem Oval, the clash between Tucabia White and Tucabia Blue promises to be an enthralling encounter with competition front-runners Tucabia White finding form before the break.

“Hopefully we can continue our good form and maintain our position (first) on the ladder,” Tucabia White opening bowler and captain Chris Adamson said.

“It’s up to some of the senior players to step up, including myself. Matt Blanch, Bob McKenzie and Matt Pigg are all capable of making big scores and it’s important they lead the way.”

Pigg found himself in a minor form slump with the bat earlier in the season but two half-centuries prior to the break suggest he is slowly getting back to his best.

“Tucabia Blue are in fourth place on the ladder and revel in the 40-overs-a-side matches.

Their batsmen love nothing better than taking on opposition bowlers and, with their captain Matt Kroehnert leading from the front, they are a real chance of causing an upset.

“Matt Kroehnert is a danger up the order and we need to get him out early,” Adamson said.

“Greg Mears is also a concern with both bat and ball. He bowls a nagging length and can be sharp at times.”

 Harwood captain Tim McMahon is under no illusion that their match against Westlawn at Iluka is a ‘must-win game.’

“It is important for us to come away with the competition points, Westlawn are running second and we’re in third position,” McMahon said.

He said he could not pin-point an obvious weakness in the Westlawn side. “They are a dangerous side. Their opening bowling is strong and so are their first-change bowlers,” he said.

“I’m not sure if their wicket-keeper Jason Rainbow is playing but if he is, he adds a new dimension to their game ... he’s their ‘X factor’.”

Westlawn have no major injury concerns and have named a full-strength team to take on Harwood. Last time the two sides met, Westlawn came away with the competition points.

 South Services will be missing their Indian recruit Manish Verma when they come up against Coutts Crossing at Ulmarra.

The absence of Verma and all-rounder Kye Masters will leave a hole in South’s bowling stocks although they still have a potent attack with the likes of Matt Peterson and Jason Thompson.

“Manish has returned home to India for personal reasons and because of a knee injury he suffered playing soccer,” South fast bowler Jason Thompson said.

“Kye will be out for the rest of the season as he broke his knee cap sliding into the fence last game. It’s understandable that Manish wanted to return home as he has wife and daughter.”

South will look to promote players from second grade to fill the void left by Verma and Masters.

Coutts are still looking for that elusive win and in an attempt to claim their maiden victory their captain Tim Tilse said he is prepared to make some subtle changes.

“I’m thinking of trying a few different combinations in the batting and also our bowling,” Tilse said.

“We have three players out for the game so it’s a chance to try something new. Brad Chard and Lewis Chevalley are both playing in the final of the Bradman Cup in Wollongong and Lance Chevalley is also down there.”

The loss of the Chevalleys and Chard will not help Coutts’ cause but the return of Ken Willis will certainly bolster the batting.

Meanwhile at McKittrick Park, Brothers will be desperate to keep in contact with the leaders and make a bid for a semi-final berth with a win against Easts.

Brothers’ captain and key all-rounder Brad Robertson is in New Zealand representing the Northern NSW Emus and his absence will be a major blow. Quality players such as Robertson are hard to replace but in saying that Brothers still have enough match-winners to get the job done against a depleted Easts’ outfit.

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