Big guns ready to fire in CRCA cricket
DEFENDING premiers Harwood make their first appearance of the 2015/16 GDSC Premier League season today.
And on paper the heavyweights should be able to ease into Clarence River Cricket Association's flagship competition against last season's minnows GDSC Easts.
Harwood have added firepower with bat and ball in the form of former Northern NSW Emus all-rounder Nathan Essex and, apart from the loss of vast experience in the form of veteran keeper and skipper Tim McMahon, have lost little ammunition from the side that has played the past four grand finals.
"We're super keen and looking forward to getting into it," opening batsman Luke Harradine said after the side had a bye in round one.
"Esso is going to be very handy for us. After putting a lot into him as a junior it's great to have him back. "He has been launching them at training.
"Harry Nicholson will also be a starter all year and he batted really well during the week when he scored 94 for Maclean High which should put us in good shape for Saturday."
While the odds are stacked heavily against Easts, they did show some mettle in their Cleavers Mechanical Night Cricket clash against last season's other Premier League grand finalists Tucabia Copmanhurst.
Returned captain Ben Hill (47) and Ryan Spies (32) put on an opening partnership of 72 before Easts crumbled for 107. But their bowling effort meant Tucabia's run chase was shaky, passing the total with three wickets and three balls to spare.
"We kept it tight and fielded well," Easts bowler Ben Shaw said.
"It's always good to have a competitive game even if it's a small total.
"Harwood is probably the benchmark of the competition. We'll have to certainly bat out our 80 overs to be competitive and hopefully bowl tight."
The other round two fixtures find Westlawn and Brothers both chasing their first wins of the season at Ulmarra Showground while Tucabia Copmanhurst and South Services are both coming off wins at McKittrick Park. Coutts Crossing has the bye.