Harwood batting flair
By TONY WHITE
CAPTAIN Tim McMahon rates tomorrow's Harwood Hilton batting line up as the best he's seen at the club.
Harwood clash with premiers Westlawn Crown Hotel in the Bananacoast Community Credit Union Premier League match at McKittrick Oval today.
"There is so much more depth and battling flair," McMahon said of this season's improved line up.
"It's the strongest batting line up I've seen at the club.
"And one of the hardest things I've got to do is decide on the order."
McMahon is hopeful of winning tomorrow's all important toss.
"It would be nice to win the toss and set a decent total, but if we don't I'm equally confident we can beat Westlawn."
Harwood are coming off a strong win over last season's beaten grand finalists, South Services.
Westlawn, despite a depleted team, looked equally strong in scoring a strong first innings win against Brothers Post Office Hotel at Ellem Oval.
Westlawn captain Tony Blanch admits the premiers batting depth is not as strong as last season and the team will be reliant on established stars like Andrew Firth, who started the season in blazing form with a first-up century, Daniel Amos and Brad Inmon to bolster the runs.
Young gun Brendan Purser is highly regarded despite his youth and lack of Premier League experience.
"Hopefully Brendan will be the batsman who can hang around for long periods and help build partnerships," Blanch said. "We all have to call on experience and treasure our wickets more with concentration."
Talented all rounder Craig Moran returns for Harwood today, but Mark Ensbey will again be missing.
McMahon said youngster Matt Pietrie would likely drop back to seconds to gain some valuable batting practise.
"I'd expect the likes of Geoff Simmons, Ed Munday, Nathan Ensbey and Greg Firth who showed last week he's keen, to be out-batting main stays," McMahon said. "But we bat right through to number 11."
Young Westlawn bowler Nathan Blanch has hit form early snaring five wickets against Brothers and his line and length have been superb. Opening bowlers Firth and Rohan Hackett give Westlawn variety and penetration.
Harwood seamer Kane Aechelmann has the ability to move the ball both ways and he and Luke Harradine have taken plenty of wickets.
Harwood had the wood on Westlawn until the finals last season. Psychologicallythis is an important encounter.