SPEEDSTER: Maclean High?s Aaron Jones in full flight against South HIgh last week.
SPEEDSTER: Maclean High?s Aaron Jones in full flight against South HIgh last week.

SCHOOL SHOWDOWN

By TOBY WALKER

MACLEAN High School will be out for revenge when it takes on Grafton High in tonight's final of The Daily Examiner shield schoolboy cricket competition at McKittrick Park.

The two sides met in last year's decider, and Maclean will be hoping for a reversal of fortune after Grafton claimed the 2004 title.

Last Wednesday in its preliminary final against South Grafton High, Maclean looked like missing the final.

Chasing South High's 100-run total, Maclean was in deep trouble at 6-68. But a steadying partnership between Aaron Jones and Troy Urquhart helped Maclean reach its target with an over to spare, setting up tonight's 2004 final replay. Grafton High reached tonight's decider with a comprehensive victory over McAuley Catholic College two weeks ago.

Led by captain Mark Laybutt and Mitch Ware, Grafton High made 7-190 before restricting McAuley to 9-156.

Maclean's bowlers, led by Urquhart, will need to put the clamps on Grafton's explosive batting line-up to be any chance of victory.

Grafton High coach Kerry Wilsmore was happy with his team's performance against McAuley but knows all too well the talent contained in the Maclean line-up.

"Both schools have got some outstanding young, talented players," he said.

However, Wilsmore believed his side would be helped by the fact that many of the players in tonight's final would come to the pitch with the experience of last year's win under their belts.

"We've got about seven players who play first grade, " he said.

"It's basically the same team (as last year)."

Wilsmore said the bowling of Nick Ada would play a vital role in his side's chances, but was still unsure about the fitness of fellow bowler Rohan Hackett who has been battling a back injury.

The match will begin at 4pm at McKittrick Park.

Maclean High will also appear in the final of the Under-14s boys' final against McAuley Catholic College. That game will be played at JJ Lawrence Field from 1.30pm.

Both finals will be 40 overs per team, with a seven-over limit applying to each bowler.

The Open girls' final between Grafton High and South Grafton High has been postponed because of the involvement of some players in the Combined High Schools competition. With the North Coast team currently competing in the statewide tournament in Dubbo, the eagerly-anticipated final has been moved to next week.



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