KEY WICKETS: Maclean United opening duo Dean Moran and Michael Woodward during a mid-pitch conference between overs.
KEY WICKETS: Maclean United opening duo Dean Moran and Michael Woodward during a mid-pitch conference between overs. Debrah Novak

Moran v O'Connor: Openers hold key to victory

LCCA CRICKET: The run scoring abilities of Dean Moran and Brett O'Connor will be pivotal to their respective side's chances at Barry Watts Oval today.

Despite their contrasting styles, both openers have led the way in similar fashion for their clubs this season in Lower Clarence First Grade.

Moran's composure atop Maclean United's innings has yielded 148 runs, while O'Connor's destructive strokeplay has amassed 149. The pair are bettered only by Brandon Honeybrook (180) at Wanderers.

You could even say there's an over-reliance on the duo, with Michael Woodward (60) for United and Dylan Harrison (53) at Lawrence their team's next best contributors five matches in.

"I'm happy to pitch in and I seem to be seeing the ball okay,” a modest Moran said. "Brett hits the ball hard from early on, so the key to him is line and length; you miss, we hit.”

The last time these two met O'Connor (35) combined with Rhys Watterson (40) to help Lawrence post a competitive 7 for 160 before rain ended play.

"We put the pads on to bat but never got out there,” Moran said. "That's the only game we've played at Barry Watts this year, so I haven't had a bat on it yet.”

While Moran said he could not remember playing numbers as strong as they are at United this season, the club's top of the table third grade side in particular will be decimated this weekend with several players missing for their clash against Wanderers at Wherrett Park to celebrate the wedding of Nathan Essex.

Harwood will also be desperate for their go-to man to fire at the top of the order as they search for the first win of the season when they host Iluka. Geoff Simmons was the competition's second leading run scorer in 2015/16 but so far has just 60 runs to his credit and is due to spend some quality time in the middle.

While Simmons will be without his brother and opening partner in crime Darrell Simmons for today's clash, he feels the young side is not far away from its first win of 2016/17 despite going through a rebuilding phase.

"Trying our hardest,” Simmons said. "Iluka's got a pretty good team so it should be a pretty even game.

"We have got a pretty young team with young blokes like Ashley Moss, Jarrod Ensbey, Tom Littlechild and who will all develop into pretty good cricketers in a couple of years.”



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