Harwood piles on the runs in clash of top sides
By DAN MacDONALD
IT was labelled the year's potential grand final and GI Hotel Tucabia-Copmanhurst skipper Damien Rouse agreed.
On Saturday Tucabia played last year's premiers Harwood and after a day's play, ear-marked them the team to beat.
"Brothers are a good chance, they're a good little team," Rouse said.
"Harwood are the team to beat, though, but it'll be interesting."
Harwood hosted Tucabia at Iluka Oval and while they had the Lower Clarence home-town advantage, they struggled to get comfortable on the pitch.
Described bluntly as 'different' by Rouse, the wicket was hard with a green top, which surprised the visiting captain.
But he said his bowlers performed well nonetheless.
"It wasn't a belter of a wicket for the quicks like Adamson (Chris) and Hackett (Rohan), but it suited some of the others," he said.
"It was actually a good day for everyone involved; the pitch played very well."
Tucabia, who currently sit in top spot on the BCU premiership ladder, were sent into field by Harwood.
Despite a display of disciplined bowling by opening pair Adamson and Hackett, they relinquished 44 Harwood runs before the first wicket fell.
Geoff Simmons was the first Harwood batsman to walk back to the sheds after he was caught by Hackett at mid-off from the bowling of Rouse.
Fellow opener Ed Munday lost his wicket in the next over, trapped in front by Brett Paxton on 25.
No sooner had Munday left the field, that Paxton struck twice more, both with the help of wicket keeper Greg Mears.
"The two stumpings were unbelievable," Rouse said.
"They were both down leg-side, they were just unbelievable. Words can't describe how good they were."
But this brought Mark Ensbey and Darryl Simmons to the crease and together they added 43 before Ensbey was caught on 31.
Simmons was spared after being dropped, and took his early chance, batted on and was the last to get out for Harwood, bowled on 69.
Rouse said he thought both teams would be happy with their performances.
He was pleased with Paxton who was promoted from second grade and finished play with 4-39 after 10 overs.
And the Tucabia skipper is confident the total is within their grasp.
"Two hundred and twenty is a very gettable score," he said.