Harwood's young guns
JUST when you think you’re heading for a third Premier League grand final appearance a young guy by the name of Nathan Essex takes it away from you.
Reeling at 8-90 and with their season on the line Essex – batting at number eight – played the innings of his life, belting a match-winning 74 not out against Brothers.
The talented all-rounder put on a 52-run partnership with his skipper Tim McMahon and in doing so booked his team into a grand final showdown with Westlawn next week.
And Essex wasn’t done yet.
Taking the new cherry Essex tore through the Brothers top-order taking 4-10 off seven overs.
Backed up by Ben McMahon (2-14) and Richie Tabor (3-19) the three young guns skittled last year’s title-holder for a paltry 73.
Harwood were in all sorts of trouble early losing three key wickets for just 42 runs.
The rain-affected match saw the Harwood middle-order struggle on the bowler-friendly McKittrick Park wicket.
But someone forgot to tell Essex which has made a habit of scoring vital runs down the order this season.
Harwood were eventually bundled out for an impressive 176 after their innings was reduced to 61 overs.
For Brothers Peter McNamara did most of the damage with the ball claiming 3-45.
In reply Brothers got off to a horror start losing six quick wickets including the prize scalps of Summers and Lancaster.
Brothers captain Mick Summers admitted his side got themselves in a winning position but let the game get away from them.
“The pitch was not that bad even though it had a bit of moisture in it,” Summers said after the match.
“It was a disappointing outcome for us.
"We let the game slip away.
“I was happy with the way the young guys performed this season.
"It could have been our third consecutive grand final but it was not to be.”
Harwood skipper Tim McMahon – who took three catches and a stumping – said Essex’s contribution to the match was outstanding.
“Nathan got off to a steady start then started finding the middle of the bat,” McMahon said.
“He has a good eye and technique and also bowled well.
“He also took too screamers in the field.
"One off his own bowling and another at mid-on.”
Harwood will now line up against Westlawn in the decider but have already suffered a major blow losing star batsman Mark Ensbey.
“It’s a bit of a blow losing Mark but Kane (Aeschlimann) will take his place,” McMahon said.
“Kane is more than handy with the bat and we’ll probably reshuffle the batting order.”