Final four ready to do battle
CRICKET: When the four remaining sides in this season's North Coast Cricket Council Premier League step onto the field tomorrow, they'll know the last five months count for nothing.
The finals are a new competition; they can provide a fresh chance for teams to prove what they are made of or can be the stuff of nightmares as title favourites unravel in a heartbeat.
Two contests are set to unfold this weekend, with Harwood and Sawtell battling it out for a place in the grand final while Coutts-Coffs Colts and Diggers fight for survival.
Sawtell skipper Richie Gallichan has been an integral part of sustained success at the club over the last few years.
Gallichan said Sawtell's secret to success come finals time was experience.
"We have a lot of guys in their mid 30s that have played a lot of cricket and a lot of finals cricket,” he said. "They know how to get the job done.”
One of the key youths for Sawtell is batsman Tyh Murphy, who Gallichan pinpointed as peaking at the right time of year.
"Ever since Diggers captain Trevor Bailey said in the paper a couple of weeks ago he expects Tyh to be a key figure he's been a revelation for us.”
Gallichan has wasted no time initiating mind games with the opposition, saying all the pressure is on Harwood this weekend.
"They're the minor premiers playing at home; we've got to travel up there and stay overnight. No one expects us to win.”
As for Diggers captain Bailey, he said discipline will be the key if his side are to make it to week two of the finals.
"We'll have to bowl well and keep it tight, take our catches and bat with the job at hand in mind.”
PREMIER LEAGUE FINALS WEEK 1
Major semi final
Harwood v Sawtell at Harwood Oval
Minor semi final
Coutts-Coffs Colts v Diggers at JJ Lawrence Fields