When Nathalia and Strathmerton go into battle this weekend Nathalia will be striving to topple the reigning premier and win its first Simpson Shield in Murray Valley Cricket Association.HANNAH DRISCOLL March 20, 2014 4:15am
Matt Jaensch’s Nathalia and Luke Carter’s Strathmerton go into battle at Cobram this weekend for Murray Valley Cricket Association’s Premier Cup.
There is one major piece of silverware missing from Nathalia Cricket Club.
It has had no shortage of individual success during the years, including back-to-back Guthrie medals for star all-rounder Ash Quinn between 2010-12, but the Murray Valley Cricket Association’s Simpson Shield has never been hoisted.
It has a chance to change that this weekend against reigning premier Strathmerton.
Nathalia captain Matt Jaensch said it was a good feeling to be in another final.
‘‘When we came together and Nathalia came and sat down and spoke to me about coming to play here it was a dream and it was a goal, and now here we are in a position to be able to achieve it,’’ Jaensch said.
‘‘I think we’ve played some good cricket, I don’t necessarily think we’ve been the team to beat. Strathmerton are the reigning premiers for a reason.’’
Nathalia defeated that same Strathmerton in the final home-and-away round by 10 wickets, bowling the visitor out for 85 runs, and it also won the one-day clash in round six.
But Jaensch, who captained Barooga in last year’s grand final against Strathmerton, said nothing during the season counted when it came to the big day.
‘‘We’ll take something out of that, but not too much,’’ he said.
Nathalia has arguably been the team to beat this season; it won the Twenty20 final against newcomer Deniliquin, made and lost the one-day final to the same opponent, and finished ahead of the Rhinos on the ladder.
Strathmerton has hardly been lacklustre, with only three losses for the season, but captain Tom Glover says it will go in as the underdog on Saturday.
‘‘We’ve just got to perform as a team. We’ve just got to give everything we’ve got and they’re the favourite so the pressure is on them really,’’ Glover said.
‘‘We’ve been there and done it and we’ll just rock up and do what we normally do and see what happens.
‘‘Being the underdogs will help as well because the pressure’s on them because they’ve been the best side all year and they probably deserve to win it, but we could shock them I suppose.’’
Nathalia has been dangerous at home all season due to its spinners Joel Cahir and Liam Evans and a wicket suited to their style, but Glover said, while they would still be dangerous, they would be less so at Cobram.
Strathmerton also has the Luke Carter card up its sleeve and he made 97 runs in last week’s semi-final against the Rhinos.
The 30-year-old won his fifth Guthrie Medal last week and top-scored in last year’s final.
Nathalia did have the advantage of defeating Barooga at Cobram last weekend and Jaensch said ‘‘it was the worst week of my life playing against some of my best friends’’.
Nathalia should take huge confidence from the fact it came back from 6-70 to post 206 runs and bowled its opponent out for 113 runs.
Two things that Jaensch absolutely wanted to bring to Nathalia was discipline and commitment, but it’s a fine line to toe.
‘‘I think I’ve pushed it a bit, but I haven’t pushed it too hard there. They’re still young, they still have to enjoy their cricket as much as they can,’’ Jaensch said.
And has he done that?
‘‘We’re in the grand final, so I hope so.’’
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