Spin king for final
TWO experienced spinners, a wicket expected to take turn and everything at stake.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
This weekend’s Premier League grand final is shaping up as the battle of the spinners.
Westlawn’s Tony Blanch and Harwood spin-king Matt Young are no strangers when it comes to performing in the big matches.
In fact, between them they have appeared in 21 grand finals.
Young has played in six deciders, winning three and losing three.
Blanch, who is in his 32nd year of playing cricket, has featured in a massive 15 grand finals, winning 10 and losing five.
Both in the twilight of their careers, the two classy finger-spinners are expected to come into their own for the all-important clash.
Young, who relies on flight, has taken the CRCA award for the most wickets by a spin bowler two years in a row.
The evergreen Blanch has been bamboozling opposition batsmen since his first grade debut in 1978-79.
According to Young, his fellow spinner is right up there with the best spinners the Clarence has seen.
“Skully’s a great spin bowler. He bowls tight and gives the batsmen nothing,” Young said.
“I respect him and love having a battle against him.”
With the McKittrick Park wicket expected to take some turn, Young said he would be keen to get his hands on the ball.
“I’ve had a bit of success at McKittrick in the past and I’m looking forward to having a bowl.
“As long as it’s not too wet and the ball gets soaked.
“I should be able to get a bit more turn than Harwood Oval, although I mainly rely on flight.”
For Blanch, winning an 11th grand final will be a wonderful milestone in a stellar career.
And like Young, he has plenty of respect for his fellow spinner.
“Matt and I have had a few chats over the years and he’s certainly a good player,” Blanch said.
“Anyone who can get the ball above the batsmen’s eye level is dangerous,” he said.
“He used to bowl medium pace, then took up spin bowling, but apart from spin one of his main attributes is batting down the order.”
Blanch said he expected the McKittrick Park wicket to take some turn, depending on the weather conditions.
“McKITTRICK is not a big turning wicket. It all depends if we get any rain,” he said.
“It may turn a little but bounce will get you wickets.”
When asked about the loss of Harwood’s big-hitting batsmen Mark Ensbey, Blanch was quick to point out Harwood is not a one-man team.
“Losing Mark will take aggression out of their side. He can take the game away from you,” he said.
“Tim McMahon is a clever captain and they have plenty of dangerous players.
“And they know how to bat out their overs, something we have failed to do in the past.”
PICK up tomorrow’s Examiner for the latest installment of the Clarence Valley Dream Team.
Gary Nichols takes a look at three of the all-rounders in contention.
Friday’s Examiner will feature the results of the 2011 Players Poll.