Harwood captain Nathan Ensbey and Sawtell captain Richie Gallichan will aim to lead with the willow in their top of the table clash today.
Harwood captain Nathan Ensbey and Sawtell captain Richie Gallichan will aim to lead with the willow in their top of the table clash today. Caitlan Charles

BAT BATTLE: Harwood out for revenge at home

CRICKET: Harwood captain Nathan Ensbey says his side is keen to exact revenge on North Coast Premier League heavyweight Sawtell when the sides clash at Harwood Oval.

Since the two sides clashed for the first time seven weeks ago they've been counting down the days until they could contest round two.

That date has finally arrived.

In what Ensbey has predicted to be a high-scoring affair at the North Coast's premier cricket ground, Harwood will be looking to avenge their effort the last time they played.

"It will be a close game, it will be a good game,” he said. "We didn't really perform that well when we went to Sawtell before Christmas.

"It was a disappointing performance, but everyone knows that and they are keen to make amends for that.

"When it comes down to it, the minor premiership is on the line for us tomorrow. If we don't knock them off, that will end our run of getting a home final.”

With a lack of rain in the region, the deck and outfield at Harwood Oval is expected to be bone dry, another catalyst for a high-scoring affair.

Both sides bat long in the order and it is expected they could each easily bring up 200 runs.

"We are going to have a long batting line-up that's for sure,” Ensbey said. "But they will also be in a similar situation.

"Batting is not the issue. This game will come down to who bowls tight lines and fields well.

"We were guilty of dropping a few catches against them last time and that cost us in the end of the game. We need to improve that if we are a chance out there.”

While his side finished on top in the first game between the two top sides, Sawtell captain Richie Gallichan said he does not expect it easy at Harwood today.

"They'll be a different proposition playing them up there,” Gallichan said.

"We'll also be down three or four troops but we've got great depth so we're pumped for the match.”

Sawtell has extra motivation for the clash because the captain believes a couple of his young troops were unfairly targeted the last time the two sides played.

"We haven't forgotten that, so we're keen to get up there and play them,” he said.

Harwood will be without veteran opener Mark "Dickie” Ensbey with Lower Clarence Cricket Association first grade all-rounder Matt Young stepping up for the club.