LEADING THE CHARGE: Captains leave club allegiances at home
REGIONAL BASH: Everyone loves a good rivalry but two top captains in North Coast cricket will put differences behind them for the Coffs Coast Chargers this weekend.
Harwood and Sawtell sit at the top of the North Coast Premier League but the two sides will join forces for the Plan B Regional Bash finals at the Sydney Cricket Ground tomorrow.
A total of seven Sawtell and four Harwood players make up the bulk of the squad, with Northern Districts Rebels man Luke Cox and Coutts Crossing big-hitter Eli Fahey rounding out the team.
But Sawtell and Coffs Coast captain Richie Gallichan said the on-field rivalry has only made the Chargers stronger.
“We all get on really well actually. There’s a good feeling in the team,” Gallichan said.
“It’s probably a good thing playing each other so much when we’re playing representative cricket together as well.”
Gallichan said that even though the sides give each other the odd sledge, it’s all done in good nature.
“We give it to each other out there but it’s all very good natures. Whenever we play it’s bound to be hard-fought,” he said.
“When you do get together and play together you’re keen to do it because you want to play with the best cricketers in the area. I think we’re going the right way about it.”
Harwood captain Ben McMahon shared the same sentiment and has enjoyed working with Gallichan.
“He asks my opinion on a few things. It’s good to be a part of the core unit leading the side,” McMahon said.
While a number of players will return to the hallowed turf, McMahon said he’s excited for those who will experience it for the first time.
“There’s a few new faces. They’ll be keen to get out there on the SCG. It’s a surreal feeling when you’re out there with the grandstand behind you,” he said.
“For the rest of us, we’re even more keen now we’re going down a second time.”
The Chargers were unable to make the final during the last tournament, losing to eventual winners, Central Coast, in the Sixers Conference final but Gallichan said they are keen to make it all the way this time around.
“We want to go all the way. Most of us have been there last year and done it and I think we’re better for it,” he said.
“It’s one of those things that you get pretty excited about playing on that ground (the SCG) and all the nerves creep into your game. I don’t think we brought our best last year.
“This year we’ll be a bit more prepared to go out there and perform rather than just be happy to be there like we were last year. Everyone’s a bit more determined to do the job.”
The experienced skipper said the injection of youth into the team will make a big difference under the Twenty20 format.
“We’ve got a lot of the same players but what we have got now is a lot of youth in the team as well. There’s a lot of athleticism in those guys and that will come in really handy,” he said.
“Pair that with the experience in the rest of the side and it’s a really good combination.”
The Chargers will play Lake Mac Attack in their opener on Sunday and Gallichan said the side know what they need to do to get a result.
“We’ll need to bowl well. Batting a fielding are two of our strengths and they’ll have a really powerful batting line-up. Being disciplined with the ball is our biggest challenge,” he said.
“We just need to be ready, that’s the main thing. Last year we were a bit starstruck but this time round we’ll be more prepared. We expect a better performance.”
GAME DAY: The Coffs Coast Chargers will take on Lake Mac Attack in the Sixers Conference final from 10am on Sunday for a chance in the final against the winner of the Thunder conference final between Central West Wranglers and ACT Aces.
Games will be played at the SCG with a live stream link set to be posted on the Cricket NSW Facebook page.