High hopes for big finish
CRICKET: The Scorchers’ Twenty20 silverware hopes have been washed away but coach Ashley Holznagel hopes they can still finish the season strongly to give themselves a chance at two-day success.
Downpours over the weekend washed out the Sunshine Coast outfit’s two-day battle with Redlands on Saturday as well as their T20 semi-final against Valleys yesterday.
Having been a force throughout the Queensland Premier Grade’s shorter format this season, winning five of six games, Holznagel was saddened to not have the opportunity to fight for a grand final berth.
“We are bitterly disappointed, a lot of time and effort goes into preparation for T20 and the boys sacrificed so much to play that format and for it not to be played was very disappointing from my point of view and the players’ point of view,” he said.
While their match with Valley was washed out (draw), the corresponding semi-final went ahead as planned, with Western Suburbs defeating UQ to earn their spot in the decider with Valleys.
Despite the heartbreaking end to the T20 format Holznagel hasn’t given up the chase for success on the pitch this season, eyeing a big finish to the two-day competition to snare a finals berth.
The Scorchers sit 10th of 12 in the longer format, but wins in all four of their remaining matches could give them the opportunity.
“We’re still a chance,” he said.
“You want to finish the season (strong) whether you make finals or not and that’s what we all aim to do.
“The ball is in our court there, so we’ve just to go out and compete hard and try and win our games.”
Although they’ll be without all-rounder Alecz Day following his heart attack last week, the Scorchers will receive a timely boost to aid their cause with the arrival of former captain Sam Northeast.
Northeast is a powerful talent, playing for Hampshire in county cricket in England.
He’s also set to play for England Lions in a series against Australia A next month.
“(He brings) experience and he’s done it before,” Holznagel said.
“Everyone is hoping he’ll play Test cricket in the next 12 months for England, so he’s a very good player and above all he’s a good bloke, so it’s going to be great to have him at the club.”
He’ll play in two games for the Scorchers, against Redlands and Wynnum Manly.