Crusaders out to cut down Slashers

 COCK `N` Bull Crusaders captain Dane Anderson is still not sure how his side made its ``great escape'' last week, but he believes it underlines his team's ability to defend any total as focus turns towards tonight's Aussie 15s' grand final against the Star Bar Slashers.

The Crusaders were able to successfully defend 7/101 last week against the Alchemy All Stars, thanks to seven wickets in the last 10 balls, thanks mainly to the work of Nick Spencer and Brett Geeves.

``We've been going really well as a bowling group and to be able to defend that it shows we can defend whatever we have to,'' Anderson said. ``Bowling groups across the board in this competition seems to have adapted to it than the batting groups, that's something we've found.

``So we need our batting group to stand up this week and be more diverse about areas of the ground that we hit to, with a lot of our guys trying to hit the ball too hard at times rather than just working it through the gaps.''

Anderson said the Westbury aligned-side had put together a squad to win the competition.

``When we first started, we thought we had a better batting group than a bowling group and it has probably worked out thus far to be the opposite,'' he said.

``At the start of it we did look at it at a bit of fun, but after the first two games of having that fun, we've really got to win it to make it all worth it.''

Anderson said the Star Bar Slashers were a ``strong unit'' who would provide a strong challenge.

 Slashers captain John LeFevre said his boys were confident after having the week off.

``A lot will come down to the toss, as batting first and getting runs on the board is important as bowling can be tough (in that competition),'' he said.

``The Crusaders have got some great players and I see them as a very strong outfit with their Glenorchy and Westbury players.

``Getting runs early will be the key and we'll have to capitalise when the field is up and you can hit over the top. In our last game against Alchemy we made 130, but we didn't capitalise as well on the scoring zones, so that will be a focus.''

Clinton Reid will play for the Slashers after his coaching duties with the state under-19 side.

The TRC Titans will be looking to improve their bowling after conceding 147 last week as they play off for third place against the Alchemy All Stars.

``We didn't execute with our bowling plans,'' skipper Michael Jones said. ``Hopefully we can hit our lengths and hopefully our fielding can improve as we dropped a couple of catches and missed a couple of run out chances.

``The All Stars have really good bowlers, so hopefully we can counteract that with some good batting, and then hopefully we can get them out early.''

Jones said up to five changes were likely for his squad.

All Stars captain Alex Saunders, whose side played both grand finalists for a 1-1 record, said his side would also need to make up to five changes.

``We just want everyone to have a go and we'll give some young guys a game,'' Saunders said.

City Park Radio will cover the Aussie 15s final between the Star Bar Slashers and the Cock 'N` Bull Crusaders live from 8pm tonight.

CRICKET ACTION

WHAT: Aussie 15s grand final night.

WHERE: Aurora Stadium, Launceston.

WHEN: Tonight, 6pm (3rd v 4th) TRC Titans v Alchemy All Stars, 8.10pm (1 v 2) Cock 'N` Bull Crusaders v Star Bar Slashers.

COST: Spectator entry is free.

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