Watkins cautious ahead of finals

By TONY WHITE

EXPERIENCED cricketer Greg Watkins hasn't played in a first grade grand final since leading Easts to success over Harwood in the 1995-96 decider, the first season of Premier League.

This weekend at Ellem Oval, the 35-year-old and his new teammates at GI Hotel TucabiaCopmanhurst will be striving to continue the club's momentum when they clash with Westlawn Crown Hotel in the Bananacoast Community Credit Union Premier League final.

Awaiting the winner is a grand final showdown with Harwood Hilton.

Tucabia have been on a roll, beating Westlawn in the South Ex-Servicemen's Club-Daily Examiner night cricket final last Friday, before backing up the following day to beat Westlawn and Brothers Post Office Hotel on the Sunday.

While the Tucabia formguide reads strongly, Watkins is the first to admit that two-day finals cricket, played over 100 overs per team, changes previous equations.

"We're definitely the underdogs, novices," Watkins said. "Westlawn haven't lost one of these types of games for about five years. They excel at 100-over cricket."

While not downplaying his team's chances, although there are doubts over Tucabia captain Damien Rouse with a hamstring injury and opener Graeme Egan for personal reasons, Watkins is a realist and understands the vagaries of over confidence.

"The team spirit is really high, fantastic," Watkins said. "Everyone has been stepping up to the mark and contributing. We've just got to cope with the pres- sure and be patient."



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