Harwood Cricket Club’s young guns (from left) Ben McMahon, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Essex and Ritchie Tabor. They will contest this weekend’s CRCA grand final against Westlawn.
Harwood Cricket Club’s young guns (from left) Ben McMahon, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Essex and Ritchie Tabor. They will contest this weekend’s CRCA grand final against Westlawn. Debrah Novak

Fab Four set for final hurdle

THEY may be missing the famous ‘mop tops’ of the Beatles but Harwood’s four young guns need little help from their friends.

Nathan Essex, Ben McMahon, Mitchell Johnson and Richie Tabor have been revelations at Harwood this season.

The promising cricketers have a chance to taste success on the big stage when they run out for Harwood in the Premier League grand final against Westlawn this weekend.

And watching how they go about their business on the cricket field you’d not be mistaken thinking they are seasoned campaigners.

Following an exodus of senior players before the start of the season, the side from down river took a punt and promoted local juniors to the top grade.

And it has worked a treat.

All four are important cogs in captain Tim McMahon’s bid to win another premiership.

Essex has shined with both bat and ball as has Ben McMahon.

Johnson and Tabor are also classed as dual-purpose cricketers.

Johnson has made a name for himself batting up the order and Tabor is capable of taking the new ball and batting in the middle-order.

Under McMahon’s leadership all four players have blossomed this season and according to the veteran skipper his side has been given a renewed energy.

“We lost some experienced players this season but for the rest of us they have given us a new lease of life,” McMahon said.

“And as far as the weekend goes, I’m confident they’ll get the job done.”

McMahon’s son Ben has been consistent all season making crucial contributions batting in the middle-order and taking wickets with his medium-pace deliveries.

Set to appear in his first Premier League grand final, Ben said playing alongside his mates is an added bonus.

“It’s fun playing alongside, Nathan, Mitch and Richie, it makes cricket enjoyable,” the 16-year-old said.

But when asked about playing under his dad, Ben had only one thing to say.

“He’s a calming influence but does like to be in control of everything,” hesaid.

Ben McMahon said the result of this weekend’s decider could come down to Harwood’s ability with the bat after losing star batsman Mark Ensbey.

“Not having Mark there is not ideal but last week against Brothers we managed to score a decent total,” he said.

“Against Westlawn in the preliminary final we just didn’t bat well.”

Like McMahon, it will be Essex’s first Premier League grand final and what is his first season with Harwood.

The 17-year-old all-rounder has proven a match-winner in recent weeks.

Batting down the order, Essex has dug his side out of trouble, proving handling pressure is not a problem

“Our top-order hasn’t been scoring a lot of runs so I suppose I’ve got the team out of trouble a couple of times,” he said. “I just try and keep a cool head.”

And as far as his captain goes Essex said playing under Tim McMahon has been good for his game.

“Tim’s great to play under. When you’re in the field you do what you’re told and play the game properly,” he said.

Essex said his mind has been working overtime this week thinking about the all-important match.

“I’m pretty keen to get out on the field. I’ve been visualising how I’m going to play and how I can help the team.”



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