Shamrocks wicketkeeper-batsman Daniel Murfet will make his long-awaited return from the UK in Saturday’s grand final rematch between South Launceston and Westbury.
Murfet’s inclusion will mark his first game in maroon since the 2016-17 final between the same two teams and should help cover the loss of Corey Briggs, Jake Williams and Ollie Wood to the Greater Northern Raiders.
While the Knights have struggled to get on the pitch due to bad weather and byes, Richard Howe’s Shamrocks remain unbeaten despite two games decided by less than 10 runs and mass team changes week on week.
“We’ve got players coming in and out all the time - I don’t think we’ve had the same team twice yet or even been close,” Howe said.
“But it’s good for players to be able to put their hand up and get a game.
“We’ve got three or four missing with the Raiders each week and guys on holidays, so there’s a good chance that if blokes put their hand up in the lower levels they’ll get a game - there’s some good competition around the club at the moment.”
Tom Waller’s Knights stand between the Shamrocks and a 5-0 start to the season, but the new skipper could have to make do without Jono Marsden should the form number three be called up for Raiders.
Will Beattie’s unavailability (exams) will see James Lee play his second match of the season on a ground where visiting sides have averaged just 130 in the past eight innings.
“It’s a real challenge going out there with longer grass and a bigger oval but we played last week on grounds that were a bit wet,” Waller said.
“You definitely have to play to the conditions and Westbury is a team that plays really well out there.”
MOWBRAY will look to break a run of two losses in its first home game of the season against Launceston.
After notching an impressive 245 against Wynyard, the Eagles’ past two innings have amounted to just 170 thanks to consecutive middle-order collapses of 5-2.
“Against South Launceston on Saturday we were really disappointed with the way our batsmen went about our innings,” coach John LeFevre said.
“There wasn’t a lot of pride shown in their wickets and we got out to some pretty average shots, but we addressed that Saturday and Monday we were a lot better.
“If we can go in with an approach like that and place a bit of emphasis on maintaining our wicket we’ll go a long way to posting a competitive total.”
Eagles frontline pace duo Ben Spinks and Blake Cassidy are on standby for a Raiders call-up, and could both miss the match which will double as a reunion for Mowbray’s four 1998-99 title-winning sides.
Meanwhile, Launceston will cover Tom Bennett’s absence by naming Raiders youngster Lachie Newland for the first time this season.
The continued unavailability of Newland, skipper Alistair Taylor and emerging all-rounder James Curran has tested the Lions’ batting stocks, but big scores from Zac Oldenhof (73 in round 1) and Ben Humphrey (61 last week) have helped fill the void.
“That was (Ben’s) first A-grade 50 and it was really well-deserved,” Taylor said.
“He’s been hitting the ball really well and I couldn’t be happier for him.
“The last couple of years he’s looked really good but just hasn’t got over that landmark, so to do that now hopefully it’s a sign of things to come for him.”
- Saturday, 10.30am: Westbury v South Launceston (Ingamells Oval)
- Mowbray v Launceston (Invermay Park)
- Riverside - BYE
- Name: James Curran
- Club: Launceston Cricket Club
- Batting style: Right hand lower order
- Bowling style: Right arm leg spin
- Top score: 50 v Westbury, 2017-18
- Best bowling figures: 5-12 v Riverside 2018-19
- Career highlight to date: Debuting for A-grade
- Cricket headline you’d like to see this year: Launceston Cricket Club wins first grade premiership
- Day job: Student at Launceston Church Grammar School
- Opposition player you’d most like at your club: Jarrod Freeman - good player and even better bloke
- Funniest sledge you’ve heard on the cricket field: “Didn't know Kookaburra made shovels” - Marcus Mckenzie
- Favourite cricketer: Glenn Maxwell because he hits a big ball
- Nicest guy at your club: Tom Bennett - all-round good bloke
- Hobbies outside cricket: Hitting golf balls at the driving range and playing football
- Favourite cafe/restaurant in Launceston: Burger Got Soul because they make a mean chocolate milkshake
- Cooking speciality: Poached eggs and bacon on toast
- Biggest influence on your career to date: Mum and Dad because they always support me