Lions out to maul rival South

LAUNCESTON will be out to shore up second spot on the ladder and beat traditional rival South Launceston for the first time this season when the final round of NTCA two-day games get under way tomorrow.

The Lions took valuable points in a confidence- boosting victory over Westbury last week on the back of a 236-run partnership between Jade Selby and Tom Bennett.

With results in the final round crucial in determining final four spots before semi-finals, Launceston captain Rowan Smith would love a repeat of that batting performance.

"Our batting has been up and down a bit this year and it was great to see Selby and Bennett put on a big partnership last week and if we can do that this week it will put us in good stead," Smith said.

"I think South remains the one team we haven't beaten this year so it would be nice to finish the year on a good note and take some confidence into the finals."

Smith said David Tueon was still unavailable due to work and there was a question mark over Bennett's availability this week.

Ross Clayton and Mark Little faced fitness tests for possible returns from injury.

"Our bowling has been very steady and Westbury has a good batting line-up and we kept them under 200," Smith said.

"Our bowlers have been pretty honest and we've been able to break partnerships so if we can keep that going it takes pressure off our batters.

"Ben Fraser has been bowling tremendously well and his figures probably don't show how well he has been bowling."

SOUTH LAUNCESTON is also coming off a good batting performance and a confidence-boosting win over Mowbray.

Captain Sean Harris said the Knights were keen to continue their winning form and gain bragging rights in the healthy rivalry that exists between the two NTCA Ground tenants.

"Launceston have been in pretty good form of late and we have to be wary of them," he said.

"Obviously it is a slightly worrying sign for the opposition when Jade Selby starts to make runs.

"As per usual whenever he is playing he is probably the key to their batting line- up so he will be one of the targets for us and hopefully we can get him fairly cheaply.

"Our bowling has been fantastic so I have full confidence whether we bat or bowl first- as long as we make a decent score with the bat then our bowlers will be able to do the job for us."

GEORGE TOWN will be playing for pride in its last game of the season when it hosts Westbury at Crothers Oval.

Saints coach Rohan Pooley was hopeful they could finish off what has been a difficult season for the club with a good performance.

"It's been a tough season and we need to put up a really good showing and not just fall over before a ball has been bowled," he said.

"With the situation that the club has been in regarding players there has been a bit of talk of where we are going to end up.

"Scotty Driessen has indicated it is going to be his final year with the club.

"I'm not 100 per cent sure of what I will be doing next year and a couple of the younger boys are talking about having a year off.

"The following Saturday might be an emotional fixture for some of the boys and we've got a bit to play for and a bit to show."

WESTBURY coach Adrian Tudor said he wanted his side to tone up for finals with a good performance.

"Last week was a bit of a shock to the bowling group that someone had batted that well to survive against us in the first session and then go on to win the game so we will regroup and try to have a better effort against George Town," he said.

"We didn't get enough runs either and it's been the story of the year - when we've been good we've been very good and able to score 300 on occasions but by and large a lot of those scores have been made by the tail having a good old wag.

"It's becoming a now-or- never scenario for our top order."

Sean Leatherbarrow is in doubt with a hamstring injury and Matthew Battle and Jonathan Chapman will miss.

The Mowbray v Riverside match will be played on March 15 and 16.

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