Scene set for titanic clash
By TIM HOWARD
COMPETITION front runners Harwood and defending premiers Westlawn Crown Hotel have set the scene for a titanic cricket match over the next two Saturdays at Ellem Oval.
Harwood returned to the Bananacoast Community Credit Union Premier League winners' list last week, crushing South Services at Iluka while Westlawn downed a determined Brothers outfit to keep its winning record since Christmas intact.
The premiers are starting to find ominous form as the semifinals approach.
They racked up a massive 7-373 against Brothers and just when it look like the Brethren were going to hold out for a draw, induced a late-order collapse to grab the points.
Harwood did most of their damage with the ball against South, routing last season's grand finalists for 55, with swing bowler Craig Moran's seven wickets the outstanding performance of the match.
It was a telling victory for the team which dominated the first half of the season.
They had two shock defeats after Christmas and needed the win against South to regain confidence.
However, Harwood has often had the wood on the premiers in recent years, gaining momentum with late-innings rallies and bowling them out as they chased higher than expected totals.
nTHE other game between South Services and GI Tucabia Copmanhurst at McKittrick Oval is also a key match.
South's form has wavered throughout the season, while Tucabia is coming home strongly as it makes its bid for a final spot.
Despite losing heavily to Harwood last week, South scored 284 in the second innings, which ensured their batsmen had plenty of time in the middle.
However, with the bye looming in the next game, this is a mustwin game if South are to make sure of its spot in the finals.
South's young batting lineup has shown itself to be either brilliant or brittle.
After its disappointing start to the season, Tucabia has finally found the form to match its personnel.
The return of former CRCA skipper and representative batsman Matt Pigg to the team has been the catalyst for the turnaround.
Tucabia have also unearthed a couple of handy young fast bowlers in Aaron Amos and Trent Dickson.
Both teams have been involved in some fiercely contested matches in recent seasons, and with plenty at stake this Saturday and next should be no ex- ception.
nTHE same two teams will also do battle on Monday night in the elimination final of the Daily Examiner / South Services Club night cricket competition on Monday.
The winner will go onto the final against Westlawn on March 3.