Tintenbar-East Ballina captain Brett Crawford winds up for a big drive in the FNC LJ Hooker League this season. Crawford looms
Tintenbar-East Ballina captain Brett Crawford winds up for a big drive in the FNC LJ Hooker League this season. Crawford looms

Crawford big danger to Cavaliers

By ADAM HICKS sport@northernstar.com IT'S hard to tell if Tintenbar-East Ballina captain Brett Crawford is being modest or trying to out-fox his Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket final opponents, the Casino Cavaliers.

Speaking ahead of the two-day premiership decider at Kingsford Smith Park South, Ballina, this weekend, Crawford named Phil Dalli and Kent Shay as Tintenbar's key batsmen but conveniently didn't mention himself.

But Cavaliers captain Mal Hancock said he wasn't fooled, nominating Crawford as the biggest dangerman despite his recent below-par efforts with the bat.

"I'm not worried about what he hasn't done; I'm more worried about what he can do," Hancock said.

"He can score a lot of runs very quickly as Souths found out a couple of years ago when he got 70 or 80 runs in next to no time to knock them out of the finals."

Hancock said Dalli, with an average over 80, was another key man at the crease.

"Phil has been batting very well," he said. "He's the sort of guy who can bat all day. While Brett can come in and hit a bit total fast, Phil will stay all day and not give too many chances. So if he gives one, we have to take it."

There is no secret on either side about the importance of the Cavaliers' Sam Irvine, who is averaging more than 50 with the bat.

"Sam is a key player for us in the batting," Hancock said. "We have other guys who can bat around him and score runs if he doesn't. But how he plays is always an influence."

Crawford said the 'Bar would be targeting the sandy-haired NSW Country representative.

"We certainly want to get Sam Irvine out for a cheap score," Crawford said.

"Wes Koskela is a dangerman as well. We'll be putting a bit of pressure on them and anything could happen."

But while neither captain would reveal what they'll do if they win the toss, they agreed Kingsford Smith Park South was a good venue for the final.

Hancock said the Ballina ground would attract more spectators than a final at Oakes Oval, Lismore, between two out-of-town teams.

"We have no problems about playing there," he said. "It's always a great wicket and no doubt it will be in great shape this weekend.

"I think we'll probably get more (spectators) there than at Oakes."

Crawford said he expected the match to attract some of Ballina's general sports fans.

"I think we'll get a few people from Ballina coming down to have a look who, over the years, haven't been able to travel to Lismore," he said.

"We're just happy we've got the match. "Our pitch looks good. The outfield is nice and fast - there could be some big scores on the cards."

Teams: TINTENBAR-EAST BALLINA: Brett Crawford (c), Scott Hogden, Kane Hamilton, Mark Newstead, Duncan Elphick, Mick Warburton, Luke Shay, Tony Porter, Phil Dalli, Kent Shay, Lucas Wagland, Abe Crawford.

CASINO CAVALIERS: Mal Hancock (c), Myles McDowell, Scott Shephard, Todd Summers, Sam Dietrich, Trent Bennett, Wes Koskela, Mick Wood, Wade Sweeney, Al Nowlan, Josh Innes, Mark Mison, Sam Irvine.

UMPIRES: Kevin Fraser, David Went.



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