Teams prepare to unleash sledging
THERE will be no-holds-barred when it comes to verbal exchanges at Harwood today.
With Harwood and Brothers desperate to advance to next week’s grand final against Westlawn both sides are expected to provide plenty of on-field banter.
Harwood captain Tim McMahon has played in his fair share of finals and when contacted yesterday was blunt when asked the question about finals cricket.
“It’s simple - lose and the season's over,” he said. “Both sides will be all-out to win the game – there are no second chances.”
With one win apiece this season the game promises to be another blockbuster and McMahon is quietly confident his side can win even without the services of his strike bowler Kane Aeschlimann.
“Kane will miss out again through injury but we have Craig Moran back to open the bowling or come on first change,” McMahon said.
“Craig actually turned up for training for the first time in three years...it was amazing he found his way to the nets without getting lost.
“The boys had a couple of good sessions in the nets and batted well against the bowling machine.”
McMahon said his side were aware of Brothers’ potency in the batting department and singled out Mick Summers as a key wicket.
“Summers got runs against us last time we played and will be someone we need to dismiss early on. Troy McLaren is also a danger, and a very good cricketer,” he said.
Harwood’s bowling ranks have suffered a blow with Aeschlimann still recovering from a serious hamstring injury but still have enough arsenal to worry the Brothers’ top-order.
Peter Hickey, Matt Young and Greg Firth are all capable of producing a bag of wickets on their home ground.
Brothers have named a full strength side and according to their captain Brad Robertson are primed for a big performance.
“We have named a strong team and go into the game very confident after beating them (Harwood) at their home ground last time...we have the side to get the job done,” Robertson said.
“Mick Summers has been our best player this season and scored runs against Harwood last time...hopefully he can continue his form,” he said
Robertson himself is a genuine match-winner with ball or bat found some much needed form two weeks ago against Coutts blasting an unbeaten century.
“I wouldn’t say I am in form with the bat but getting a ton the other week was a real confidence booster,” he said.
“If I can spend some time in the middle and hang around I might be able to play myself into form.”
A batting allrounder, Robertson has been one of Brothers leading wicket-takers this season - not bad for someone who fancies himself as more of a batsman.
“My bowling this season has been better than my batting but it’s the batting aspect I pride myself on,” he said.
Robertson said he was wary of Harwood’s experienced line-up, in particular their opening batsman Geoff Simmons.
“Geoff is a dangerous player on his day...he’s the big wicket we need to get early. Nathan and Mark Ensbey are also key wickets...Mark hits the ball as clean as anyone.”
“Both sides will be all-out to win the game – there are no second chances.”