ON THE LINE: Harwood seeking grand final glory over Sawtell
NCCC: Harwood will be looking to settle the score against Sawtell this weekend when the two teams clash in the North Coast Cricket Council premier grade grand final.
Harwood finished the season as minor premiers, but succumbed to a willing Sawtell in the major semi-final.
After Harwood dispatched the Coutts-Coffs Colts last week, captain Nathan Ensbey said his side was ready to travel south to Sawtell for the final game of the season.
"Everyone is feeling confident after last week's win and a good week at training, everyone is keen and we've got some good momentum in the team,” he said.
"Last week gave us a good chance to get some confidence back from our major semi-final defeat so to get back into the winner's circle was crucial, and we got the chance to give everyone a bowl and a bat before we take on Sawtell.”
Ensbey said he felt his side was a bit "underdone” before their last game against Sawtell, but the loss was a chance to learn more about their eventual grand final opponents.
"We learnt that little bit more about their game,” he said.
"We know we have to be better and pick up our game that 20 or 30 per cent to get over the top of them.
"Our boys are in good form now and I think our team from that day had a lot of improvement in them, where I'm not sure how much improvement Sawtell had in their team to be better from that last game. I think our team can lift more than they can, and I'm confident we've got a stronger team and can get the job done.”
Ensbey said the opening session of the match would be crucial in setting the tone.
"We just need to start well. They've got very attacking opening batters that can score quickly from the first ball, so our opening bowlers will need to lift from ball one,” he said.
"They did that last week and I'm sure they'll answer the call again to hit their line and length against their aggressive opening batsmen, and from there it'll be up to our change bowlers to keep up the pressure and limit their scoring options.
"With the bat we know Richie Gallichan took six wickets against us with his off-spin and we've talked about how we're going to play him.
"The main thing is not to let our wickets fall in clusters. We lost four wickets for nothing in one session last game against Sawtell so we have to make sure that doesn't happen again.
"That first session will be very critical for us, and I can see the game being won or lost with our bowling. Everyone is hitting the ball well at training and if everyone can chip in with the bat and build a score that will be handy.”
The North Coast Cricket Council premier grade grand final between Harwood and Sawtell will be at Richardson Park, Sawtell, from 11am on Saturday and Sunday.