Cricket Shepparton Twenty20 specialist Northerners will once again carry the hopes of the little guy, when it meets A-grade powerhouse Mooroopna in Sunday’s final at Deakin Reserve.By Damen Francis
Cricket Shepparton Twenty20 specialist Northerners will once again carry the hopes of the little guy, when it meets A-grade powerhouse Mooroopna in Sunday’s final at Deakin Reserve.
For the second straight season Northerners, which fields teams in every division but A-grade, has defied the odds to reach the competition decider.
Last year it was Central Park St-Brendan’s that spoiled Northerners’ party, this year the Cats will look to follow suit.
However, this year the underdog has enlisted serious firepower in the form of Melbourne district cricket duo Ryan Sidebottom and Jeremy Brown.
They made their only appearance in the club’s round three match against Katandra, with Sidebottom particularly impressive on his way to a match-best 6-16 with the ball.
Northerners skipper Trent Sidebottom said the final was another excellent opportunity to mix it with the A-grade opposition.
‘‘We have a lot of X-factor in our team and blokes that don’t mind playing their shots,’’ Sidebottom said.
‘‘Our two imports haven’t been available every week, but they will both be there on Sunday.
‘‘Ryan has been bowling with a fair bit of heat and Jeremy is a quality player as well.
‘‘It’s always a big learning curve playing against a club as strong as Mooroopna, but hopefully we can get across the line.’’
Tyler Pedretti and Mitch Brett will make way for Sidebottom and Brown.
The sides tracked identical paths to the final.
Both dropped their opening match of the competition, but were undefeated through their remaining matches.
Mooroopna’s side will again feature a mix of A-grade regulars and specialist Twenty20 players.
Veteran Glenn Campbell has made the most of his opportunities moving up from B-grade and will joined by big hitting all-rounder Andrew Young for Sunday’s final.
Paul Wickham started the season as captain of the club’s C-grade team, but has been a revelation in the Twenty20 competition, contributing valuable runs and wickets in his three games.
‘‘We asked Paul to come up and he’s taken the chance with both hands,’’ Cats skipper Brenton Campbell said.
‘‘He took seven wickets in a day, he’s made a few runs and hit some sixes as well.
‘‘You need to be able to bat and bowl in this form of the game and you’re going to have the odd bloke that chips in if that’s the case.’’
While the Cats have enjoyed even team contributions throughout the competition, much will depend on the likes of Paul Marshall and Campbell to hold the innings together through the early stages.
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