Top sides on collision course as minor premiership beckons
CRICKET: Ever since Sawtell and Harwood clashed for the first time seven weeks ago they've been counting down the days until they could contest round two.
That date has finally arrived.
The pair are the standout sides in the North Coast Cricket Council Premier League, having raced away from the competition on the ladder.
Sawtell managed a six wicket victory in their first meeting, but captain Richie Gallichan said that result will mean nothing when they step onto the field this Saturday.
"They'll be a different proposition playing them up there,” Gallichan said.
"We'll also be down three or four troops but we've got great depth so we're pumped for the match.”
If Sawtell are able to leave Harwood with the five competition points it would mean they have one hand on the minor premiership.
"Not that you should need extra motivation but that (the minor premiership) is, if we could all but wrap that up and a home final,” Gallichan said.
The skipper noted Harwood were extra vocal towards some of Sawtell's younger players last time out, which has lit a fire in the belly of the captain and his troops.
"We haven't forgotten that so we're keen to get up there and play them.”
The competition's top run scorer Nathan Ensbey, who has notched three centuries to date this season, will pad up for Harwood and Gallichan knows keeping him quiet is crucial.
"They've got a few good batters, but he knows his game really well.
"We have a plan on how we want to bowl to him to restrict his scoring and hopefully we'll be able to draw a false shot.
"Harry Bird is also a quality batsman along with Ben McMahon , we're going to have to get through their top six.”