Tongala is looking to make a statement this weekend by knocking off Goulburn Murray Cricket powerhouse Rochester Tigers.By Damen Francis
Goulburn Murray Cricket quiet achiever Tongala is looking to make a big noise by eliminating one of the major favourites for the inaugural title when finals commence this weekend.
Despite finishing third on the ladder and booking a home final as well as winning its only head-to-head battle with opponent Rochester Tigers this season, Tongala remains the underdog.
Skipper Adam Nunn at least has the belief his side is in control of its destiny and with four wins in a row — including last week’s outright hammering of Echuca South — it has the form to match.
‘‘It was good to secure a home final ourselves last week and not rely on other results going our way,’’ Nunn said.
‘‘(The Tigers) have some quality players in their line-up and we won’t be taking them lightly.
‘‘Last time we played them was a one-day game and it was pretty high-scoring, so this will be a totally different game, plus the added pressure of finals.
‘‘We’ve been bowling pretty consistently and we’ve been able to keep sides to low scores, so hopefully we can continue to do that.’’
Tongala does boast some post-season experience from appearances in Kyabram District Cricket Association finals in recent seasons and that could be important against a strong Tigers outfit.
The home side is waiting on the availability of Daniel Cox, but will otherwise be at full strength. Jordan Souter has been in good form with bat and ball and is full of confidence after recording a century last time out.
Tigers president and A-grade player Justin Cleary said he was wary of Tongala’s strength in depth.
‘‘Someone said to me we should be glad we’re playing Tonny, but I’m not so sure,’’ Cleary said.
‘‘I still think our best is better than everyone else’s, but we haven’t been producing.
‘‘I don’t know if we have been on a bit of a high from beating (Rochester) United, but our batting has folded.
‘‘Cricket is one of those games where you can turn it around from one game to the next, so we just need one or two guys to get going and we should be fine.’’
Nathan McCarty has commitments with VFL club Bendigo Gold and is unavailable and Grant Wachter is reportedly only a 50 per cent chance to play with a broken thumb.
However, key batsman Sean Williams could finally make his A-grade return from injury, having made it through a D-grade one-day match against Stanhope last week.
The three winners from the first round of finals plus the highest-ranked loser will go through to the semi-finals the following week.
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Most people at the J C Lowe Oval left on Saturday evening talking about the game but not the result. Pigeon Coach Chris Kennedy summed up the feeling adequately when he said after the game; “it was a frustrating game, but my players weren’t responsible for the frustration.”
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