Easts put their hearts into Premier grade to reach finals
CRICKET: For the first time in more than six years GDSC Easts will line up in the Clarence River Cricket Association's top grade finals as they prepare to host Tucabia-Copmanhurst Phil Lloyd Earthmoving at Ellem Oval.
It is an occasion that long-term club president Bret Loveday didn't see coming at the start of the season.
After making it to the second grade grand final last season, the side was destined to return to that grade in 2018/19 but when there were not enough teams to form a grade they took the chance at the GDSC Premier League.
"Being realistic, these boys really weren't going to play in the top grade,” Loveday said.
"If you had have told me we would play finals cricket at the start of the season, I would have said you were lying.
"But these guys have just shown so much heart to get here. I am just rapt and proud of the boys that they have made it.”
It will be an even contest between the two sides, with Tucabia holding a narrow advantage after captain Jaye Yardy hit a century to beat Easts the last time they met in Round 9.
But Easts will have a weapon up their sleeve with in-form all-rounder Shannon Connor ready to fire on the big stage.
Connor hit 88 as the side came within a whisker of chasing down Brothers 259 in the final round of the season.
"I have known him since he was 12 or 13 in the Easts club, and I honestly think he is playing his best cricket ever.”
Tucabia-Copmanhurst's other Premier League outfit will also take to the field in semi-final action this weekend in what is a major coup for the club.
Led by top tier seamer Brad Chard, Tucabia-Copmanhurst GI Hotel will meet fierce rivals Brothers Clocktower Hotel in the major semi-final at Lower Fisher Park.