Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Echuca to face off against Flames

Echuca and Kyabram Fire Brigade will play in today's Goulburn Murray Cricket preliminary final.

LUKE MCMANUS March 8, 2014 4:04am

Ryan Hon comes in to bowl.

A case of déjà vu will greet preliminary finalists Echuca and Kyabram Fire Brigade at Victoria Park today.

Less than two weeks ago, the Flames hosted the then undefeated Echuca in the final round of the Goulburn Murray Cricket competition, romping to a surprisingly dominant seven-wicket win.

South African recruit Tyrone Isitt (83 not out) and captain Daniel Kent (75 not out) proved to be the match winners after combining for a 169-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

Both will play an important role tomorrow as their side aims to upset the flag fancies once again, this time on Echuca’s willow-friendly wicket.

‘‘You can’t really take too much out of (that) one-day game,’’ Kent said.

‘‘Saying that, (we) played really well against their bowlers, so that’s an area we can hopefully get on top of them again this weekend.’’

Kent used the build-up around their round 11 clash with Echuca as an opportunity to test his players’ resilience against one of the best teams in the competition, describing the occasion as a ‘‘mini final’’.

‘‘I said that to the boys during the week and before the game,’’ Kent said.

‘‘At that stage we were a chance to snatch second spot and anytime you play the best side you treat it like a final.

‘‘It was a chance to gain a mental edge as well. The loss will be at the back of their minds tomorrow while we’ve gained plenty of confidence out of the win.’’

Two semi-finals have been played and won since Kyabram Fire Brigade’s breakthrough against Echuca, time which has allowed the host captain, Brendan Prendergast, to prepare and iron out any issues which may hinder his grand final hopes.

Whether Isitt and Kent were part of those plans was a question fraught with danger from both angles, according to Prendergast.

‘‘They probably will, just because their partnership was so good last time around and they did take the game away from us,’’ the skipper said.

‘‘But I think we have to be careful not to just focus on those guys, they’re obviously a very good team and have a lot of depth.

‘‘Also there were guys we didn’t even get to see last time, because Daniel and Tyrone batted so well, so we’re wary in that regard.

‘‘Obviously, last week was a real positive for us and we want to build on that.’’

A solid performance against Moama provided a nice turnaround, a strong run chase and telling contributions from Taylor Beard (60), Curtis Townrow (63) and Prendergast (55) all at the forefront of the win.

This time last season however, Echuca was bundled out in its preliminary final after a flawless campaign and given the recent slip-up against the same side it faces tomorrow, it may be a case of déjà vu for the home team.

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