Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Echuca and Moama to clash

Cross-town rivals will meet tomorrow in the Goulburn Murray Cricket semi-final.

LUKE MCMANUS February 28, 2014 4:04am

Stakes will be high during tomorrow’s Goulburn Murray Cricket semi-final between Echuca and Moama.

Not only will the cross-border rivalry heighten tensions at Victoria Park during the next two days, but just one slip up and a club’s 2013-14 finals hopes will be over.

It would be a disastrous equation for Echuca after the club enjoyed a near-perfect regular A grade season, owning top spot on the ladder for 10 out of 11 rounds.

Echuca captain Brendan Prendergast said while last weekend’s seven-wicket loss to Kyabram Fire Brigade was a setback, his side was more than prepared for the challenge.

‘‘The boys are excited, finals is something we’ve known we were going to part of around the Christmas break,’’ he said.

‘‘Even if our form dropped away towards the end of the season, we were confident enough in our own ability and experience to handle the pressure of finals.

‘‘We used last week’s loss as an opportunity to highlight areas in which I thought we needed to improve on.

‘‘At the end of the day, we didn’t feel like we played too badly, there was just a couple of blokes that batted well and ultimately took the game away from us.’’

Despite jumping straight on the front-foot, Prendergast knows all too well the pressure of expectation.

After finishing the 2012-13 season undefeated, premierships dreams were shattered after the side was bundled out in the preliminary final.

Still a nagging memory, Prendergast said it was important not to dwell on past results.

‘‘I always think if you don’t achieve what you think you’re capable of, then it’s a wasted opportunity,’’ he said.

‘‘We have a better understanding of what needs to be done this time around and we have that experience under our belt.

‘‘It will be business as usual for us... we won’t be focusing on (the past), only on what were trying to do now.’’

While Echuca has the wood over Moama this season, thanks to its commanding nine-wicket win in round five, Moama captain Cameron Parker is waiting to swoop on any vulnerability.

Parker is hoping for his side’s most experienced players, Kirk Teasdale and Ralph Siede, will help combat Echuca’s incomparable depth.

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