A big no ball for Brandon Honeybrook against Sawtell at Harwood oval.
A big no ball for Brandon Honeybrook against Sawtell at Harwood oval. Adam Hourigan

Local derby showdown in major league final

CRICKET: Harwood's lead attacking weapon Brandon 'Bear' Honeybrook expects the side will bounce back this week as the minor premiers aim to keep their North Coast Premier League premiership ambitions alive.

Harwood were outclassed by NCPL heavyweights Sawtell at home in the major semi-final last week. But Honeybrook said it was something they had come to terms with.

And it will be something they won't repeat when they return home today to take on Coutts-Coffs Colts in the preliminary final.

"Having three weeks off and going straight into a major semi-final, we got caught a bit flat-footed,” he said.

"We showed up like it was a normal game, we didn't step up the intensity like we needed to. We just got caught out by a classy side.

Will BAiley drives on the up for Sawtell against Harwood
Will BAiley drives on the up for Sawtell against Harwood Adam Hourigan

"We realise we need to be better, we know we have got work to do.”

While the side might have been shocked by a willing Sawtell outfit, they have not lost focus on their goal.

Harwood were back into training earlier this week, and with the added support of Clarence cricket stalwart Mick Morris, Honeybrook believes they have found the key to preliminary finals glory.

"He watched our efforts against Sawtell last week, and he came down to training on Thursday with a portfolio of notes,” he said. "He just pinpointed a few things we needed to work on.

"He is a great all-round coach, he has the knowledge. When Mick talks, I listen - that's for sure.”

Honeybrook was one of the side's strongest links last week with the ball in hand, but said he missed out with the bat.

Playing a more conservative role at the top of the order, Honeybrook saw out most of the final session on the first day, scoring 7 runs from 43 balls before he was caught at first slip on his first ball next day.

Luke Many bowls as Doug Harris walks in at short mid-off for Harwood against Sawtell
Luke Many bowls as Doug Harris walks in at short mid-off for Harwood against Sawtell Adam Hourigan

"I was way too conservative, I need to get on top of the bowling and dictate their game for them,” he said.

"I need to capitalise on my strengths and put them off their game.”

The clash with Colts will act as a local derby of sorts and they won't "take the opposition lightly”.

The Colts have clicked at the right time and were dominant in their dispatching of Coffs Diggers in the minor semi-final last weekend.

"We haven't had the consistency we were after for various reasons this season but we're starting to click at the right time and I'm confident we'll give it a good show,” Colt Matt Rose said.

"It's the first year of the competition and we want to make it a success; finals are obviously a big part of that. Our team has shown we'll never give up so it should be a good game ... if the weather holds.”