Brothers seek Premier redemption
IT’S BEEN a long time since Brothers have lifted the first grade Cricket shield - since 1994 to be precise.
They went ever-so-close last season only to see their dreams washed down the gurgler when the grand final against Tucabia White was abandoned due to rain.
A punishing victory against Harwood on the weekend has the Brothers side beaming with confidence going into this week’s decider against Westlawn.
Brothers captain Brad Robertson said his side is more than capable of winning their first Premier League title in 18 years after dishing out a cricketing lesson to a strong Harwood outfit.
“We have given ourselves a chance at the title and I see no reason why we can’t go all the way,” he said.
“We showed against Harwood we can compete with the best teams in the competition and I’m confident we can get the job done against Westlawn in the grand final.”
Harwood was forced to spend all Saturday and part of Sunday in the field as Brothers amassed a mammoth total of 8-296.
Mick Summers once again starred with the bat belting 62 and was given a good platform to begin his assault by his opening batsmen Sam Jackson (51) and Jarrad Lynch (46).
Robertson said he wouldn’t swap his opening pair for anyone.
“Sam and Jarrad got us off to a perfect start...I think they put on an opening partnership of 97. They are the best opening combination in the competition,” Robertson said.
Harwood’s spin bowlers Matt Young and Peter Hickey were made to earn their keep bowling a massive 37 overs between them. Young finished with 2-61 and Hickey bowled a tight spell of 2-45.
Robertson, as he did last week against Tucabia Blue, opened the bowling with Mick Summers which again proved to be a master-stroke.
Summers, with his gentle medium-pace deliveries removed the dangerous Nathan Ensbey and Luke Harradine with a wonderful spell of swing bowling.
“I decided to open with Mick again this week. He got us two important wickets and the new ball suits him...he swings the ball both ways,” Robertson said.
When Ryan Lynch got Harwood’s Geoff Simmons to feather one through to the keeper in the third over it was always going to be a difficult task for Harwood to run down Brothers imposing total.
With the top-order failing it was left to the middle-order to produce the runs and they made a good fist of it with Mark Ensbey (42) and Craig Moran (28) getting starts.
Harwood captain Tim McMahon said part of the reason for his side’s demise was attributed to his bowlers being off-line early on
“We didn’t bowl well in the first couple of hours...there were too many deliveries down the leg side,” he said
“It was a big total to chase and I thought we could have kept them to around 260 but they got away from us at the end.”
Making no excuses for the loss McMahon said losing their strike bowler Kane Aeschlimann for the game didn’t help their cause.
“It was a blow losing Kane...not having him for the game underlined just how valuable he is to the side. He has the ability to put pressure on the opening batsmen.”
When asked who he fancied to take out the title next weekend McMahon indicated either side was capable on the day.
“Westlawn have the strike-power especially their bowlers but Brothers have an all-round side. Westlawn rely on three or four players to win them the match while Brothers have half-a-dozen who can win it.” he said
This week’s second grade grand final will be between Easts and Souths after Easts defeated Westlawn in a thriller.
Chasing 194 for victory Westlawn were on track before Jason Limbert and Riley Winter mopped up the tail. Westlawn were eventually bowled out for 176.
For Easts Darren Fish who was moved up from third grade for the game showed his class with a splendid 48 while young batting sensation Shannon Connor smashed 46.
Easts opening batsman and captain Bret Loveday said his opening bowling pair of Limbert and Winter were the difference between the two sides.
“We won the game on the back of our two opening bowlers,” Loveday said.
“Hopefully they can bowl as well next week against Souths. Souths beat us last time but with a bit of luck you never know.
“I know one thing...we need to get John Frame out cheaply.”
Coutts Crossing has been the bench mark in third grade for several seasons and they will need to be at their best against a strong Easts Green side in Saturday’s grand final. Easts Green captain Chris Fisher said his side will not be taking Coutts lightly. “You have to respect Coutts winning culture at this level but I believe we have the best team in the competition."
“We have given ourselves a chance at the title and I see no reason why we can’t go all the way.”