Baxter, Hackett take charge in interdistrict grand final
CRICKET: With more than a quarter century of combined experience under their belts the Clarence River umpiring team of Bruce Baxter and Jeff Hackett are set to add another rep cricket string to their bows on Sunday.
Our very own Clarence umpiring "dream team” will take the field in the North Coast Cricket Council first grade interdistrict grand final at Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park to officiate what will be a gripping contest between Nambucca Valley and Coffs Harbour.
While both black and whites have climbed the tree of Country NSW Cricket umpiring - each standing in country knockout finals - according to Hackett it is an honour for both umpires to be chosen for the clash.
"I think when you have had close to 13 years of experience at local and country level then that is what it is all about,” he said. "I think that is why Bruce Baxter and myself have been appointed by the North Coast Umpires Association.
"It is certainly an honour to be recognised for an important clash like this.”
It could become a feisty encounter with not much separating the two southern sides in their round one encounter last year.
While it was the effort of David Angus-Crouch (3 for 31 off 10) and a rampaging Trent Dierick (3 for 15 off 4.3) who tore through the Nambucca line-up on that occasion to deliver Coffs Harbour the win, Hackett believes it is Nambucca who should be favourites heading into the final.
The defending premiers are full of talent thanks to a large contingent of Nana Glen players who are sitting second on the Coffs Harbour District First Grade ladder with 10 wins from 13 appearances.
Young firebrand Luka Grace has led the charge for Nambucca in interdistrict action alongside star captain Josh Bartlett and Hackett said it is an attack that could easily tip the final in their favour.
"I umpired their last clash against Lower Clarence at Macksville and they were very impressive,” he said. "They have a decent batting line-up but it is their bowling attack that really impressed.
"I haven't seen a lot of Coffs this season but I really like the look of Nambucca, they are the reigning premiers and you would expect they will field their strongest side.”
Hackett said at the end of the day he just hopes for a high quality, competitive match between the sides and he is glad to have Bruce standing opposite for it.
"It means absolutely everything to have Bruce at the other end, he is an excellent umpire and a great decision maker,” he said.
"We work as a team, whether at the bowling end or square leg we are always working together.
"Having him on my side definitely takes some weight off of the shoulders.”
Play begins 10am tomorrow.