Top sides Westbury and Mowbray go head to head

Launceston's James Bowen sends a ball George Town's way during Saturday's match. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON
Launceston's James Bowen sends a ball George Town's way during Saturday's match. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

WESTBURY takes on Mowbray in a final round, top-of-the-table NTCA clash at Shaws Oval tomorrow in a possible grand final preview.

The top two sides haven't met since round 1 of the season when the Shamrocks had a 22-run victory in a low-scoring affair at Westbury.

Both teams have been in good form leading up to the finals, but the Eagles will be disadvantaged with captain-coach Clinton Reid likely to miss with state coaching duties.

Westbury coach Adrian Tudor said his side's focus would be on batting for longer periods and building partnerships.

"You have to bat for long periods to win a final and we want to focus on batting four sessions in preparation for that," he said.

"We failed to do that against South Launceston - we had batsmen make runs but still no significant partnerships and there is probably no better bowling attack to do it against."

The Shamrocks have a full list to choose from and Tudor said he was happy with their bowling and fielding.

"It's probably been the cornerstone of every win we've had and we've been able to keep the pressure on and ask some serious questions of the opposition when we bowl and field, " he said.

SOUTH LAUNCESTON takes on traditional rival Launceston at NTCA No.2 Ground with the Knights aiming to rediscover some winning form after double losses last weekend.

"We want to go out and play our brand of cricket and work on some things we've been practising over the past few weeks and prepare ourselves for a good battle," coach Ben Austen said.

"We've got a few guys who need to spend some time out in the middle, but I think a couple of our batsmen are only one innings away and I'm sure with a bit of confidence runs will flow for them."

Austen said he was happy with the Knights' bowling, but would welcome the return of Mark Stewart and his experience from a calf injury and wicketkeeper-batsman Nathan Philip returns to the side after state second XI duties in New Zealand.

LAUNCESTON captain Rowan Smith is hoping his team can finish its season off with a victory after struggling for consistency during the season.

Smith said the Lions had played well on the final day of their last match against George Town, making their highest score of 236 for the season.

"The aim is to play well for a whole game and not just the one innings, which is what we've been doing so we'll be looking to put two innings together and get a win to finish the season off," he said.

The Lions should be unchanged.

GEORGE TOWN hosts Riverside at Crothers Oval, with coach Rohan Pooley wanting his side to focus on the task at hand and not look too far ahead to the finals.

Pooley said the Saints had been playing some good cricket despite the disappointment of last week's Kookaburra Cup semi-final loss.

Gabe Bell is unavailable due to school cricket.

RIVERSIDE acting captain Tom Hay said his side had struggled with the bat and needed to get more runs on the board and find more consistency in the top order.

He said the Saints would be hard to beat on their home ground, but the Blues would approach the contest with a positive attitude.


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