Stakes high in gf replay
By TONY WHITE
LAST season's Bananacoast Community Credit Union Premier League grand final replay between Westlawn Crown Hotel and South Services at McKittrick Park beginning today should be a defining moment for both teams.
Premiers Westlawn are currently struggling to regain top form and South, although coming off a bye, have shown enough in previous games and have a talented outfit capable of challenging for premiership honours.
Again Westlawn will be under strength.
Highly promising opener BJ Purser will miss today with commitments at the Bradman Cup trials and another young gun, first change bowler Nathan Blanch, will also be missing.
Westlawn capitulated to a rampant Tucabia last week and the premiers need to get some steel in their batting before they can again become a dominant force.
"The team is very disappointed at its last two losses, particularly when our bowlers have put us in a position to capitalise," skipper Tony Blanch said. "Our batting has capitulated at vital times and our batsman have to put in the hard yards and bat out our overs."
South will be strengthened by the return to first grade of wicket-keeper Matt Hartmann, who scored an impressive century in second grade last week.
South captain Brett Woods and Matt Kroehnert have been in good touch this season and South's bowling attack is one of the most balanced in the competition.
The other Premier League match at Ellem Oval features GI Hotel Tucabia-Copmanhurst against Brothers Post Office Hotel.
Tucabia are cock-a-hoop after knocking off Westlawn last week.
"The boys are on a high," captain Damien Rouse said. "It was great to see a few of the young fellas, particularly Aaron Amos and Trent Dickson, stand up and be counted."
Brothers, with Troy McLaren playing again, found Hardwood too good last game, but with Matt Ryan in good form and providing the likes of Mick Summers and Brendan Grieves can lend supporting roles, should make a good fight of it.
nMeanwhile, all Lower Clarence cricket, both junior and senior, has been cancelled due to the state of the grounds, a spokesperson said.