Westlawn bowler John Blanch.
Westlawn bowler John Blanch.

Statistics tell a bigger picture

WESTLAWN are the undisputed wicket-taking kings of the Premier League cricket competition – but the jury remains out on their batting power.

Statistics compiled by the Examiner reveal that the Westlawn fast bowling brigade – led by speedster Rohan Hackett and surprise-packet John Blanch – have claimed more wickets than any other side in the league.

Left-arm mystery man Blanch has notched a competition-best 50 scalps in a watershed season for the one-time Second Grade toiler.

McKittrick Park has been Westlawn’s favourite stomping ground, but they have proven there is no venue – or batting lineup – capable of resisting Hackett and co. when on song.

The potency of their leading men has masked the side’s inability to cash in with the bat; the peak score for the club with the bat is a modest 7-246.

And their average of 18.5 runs per scalp is the lowest of the four teams that remain in contention for the title.

As the finals kick off this weekend, Harwood will stick to the trusted formula of a solid batting lineup and reliable – if not spectacular – group of fast men and tweakers.

Opener Geoff Simmons will need to continue his solid form while spinner Matt Young has shown the ability to unravel even the best Clarence Valley bats.

Harwood has cashed in with their surplus of home fixtures.

Eight of the club’s matches were played on the subdued Harwood deck, allowing the top order to post runs at an average of 25.5 per wicket, a competition-best record.

Whether they can repeat the form in the crunch matches down river is the biggest question mark over a side that has legitimate claims on a favourites tag.

Brad Robertson’s Brothers lineup has proved itself the allrounders in the competition.

After singing the team song just once from the opening five encounters, the brethren finished strongly on the back of a sturdy group of regular contributors.

They managed 21.0 runs per wicket with the bat and a frugal 16.3 with the ball – including regular dismantlings of opposition sides at Ellem Oval.

Around 40 per cent of their wickets came at the Oliver St ground – a water-tight 103 runs conceded in the final round clash with Coutts one of the highlights.

The fact the grand final will be played there means Brothers, if they qualify, will enter the match full of confidence - and with statistics to back it up.

Underdogs Tucabia Blue remains the unknown from the final four.

Gun bat Matt Kroehnert has been atop the list of runscorers for much of the season but has failed to receive much support from a hit-or-miss order.

Their wickets have come at a consistent 16 runs per wicket but a batting average of just more than 20 means they will need to fire on all cylinders – and in all departments – to challenge their star-packed rivals.

An incredible 44 wickets at a mean of 11 at McKittrick Park shows Blue can adapt to most conditions.

If they can score a final or two at the South Grafton venue the side has every chance of pushing the big boys Westlawn and Harwood.

Time – and statistics – will tell.

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