Brothers look to rob Casino in Hooker League cricket final
Brothers look to rob Casino in Hooker League cricket final

Cavaliers, Brothers final showdown

LIKE two old mates scrapping over the last stubby, Al Nowlan and Craig Ferguson want the Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket shield.

A six-month slog has boiled down to just two contenders – one a perennial performer, the other a long-suffering Hooker League team buoyed by an influx of youthful talent.

The captains of finalists Casino Cavaliers and Marist Brothers have trodden vastly different paths to get to the championship decider this weekend, but now stand just two days from glory.

The Cavaliers will go into their fourth consecutive final as firm favourites with all players apart from 16-year-old Brendan Maguire having played in the past three finals.

In contrast, Brothers take in a largely untested side, including four teenagers, and zero experience in Hooker League finals.

Sixteen-year-old wonder-kid Dain Moreton shapes as a key player for the underdog Brothers, but captain Ferguson will be looking elsewhere for a match-winner.

“Dain is already a consistent staple of the team,” Ferguson said.

“He is mature and composed so I know that I am going to get something out of him with bat or ball.

“A guy like Ben Cooper could blow the game apart, take it away from them in 15 overs.”

Casino captain Nowlan knows his team only has to keep doing what it has been doing to make it hard for their opponents.

After a season where their bowlers stood out – Nowlan (40 wickets) and Mark Mison (35) finished second and third on the overall wicket-takers list – the batsmen last weekend delivered the knockout punch to Cudgen in their semi-final with a total of 8-301 (cc).

“I’m confident we have the ammunition to go all the way,” Nowlan said.

“We bat down to eight or nine and our first five bowlers have been going so well that some good bowlers aren’t even getting a go.”

Nowlan only has to remind his squad of last year’s final for motivation this weekend.

“We made the mistake of trying to bat out a draw and got done in the last few overs,” he said.

“That hurt.”

Both captains have been around since day-one of the Hooker League and waged many intense battles.

If Brothers bat first, chances are the opening ball will again be Nowlan to Ferguson – and the Brothers captain will be on high alert.

“I remember the first time I came to Casino’s home ground,” Ferguson recalled.

“I face up and in rolls this bloke, all arms and legs, and lets one rip; it goes straight through me – I didn’t even have a chance to move my feet.

“I thought ‘Here is a bloke I’m going to have to watch out for’, and that was my introduction to Al Nowlan.”

The pair came together again at Casino on Thursday to check out the Queen Elizabeth Park wicket where they will do battle.

Foxing ’til the very end, Ferguson questioned his counterpart on their departure.

“Did it swing much here last weekend, Al?”

And the reply: “Ah, you might get a bit mate but you’re kidding if you come here looking for too much.”

Mmm, I wonder.

A bus for Marist Brothers players and supporters will depart the Rous Hotel at 9.15am tomorrow.

THE TEAMS

CASINO CAVALIERS: Al Nowlan (c), Rodney Wells, Adam Shields, Todd Summers, Myles McDowell, Sam Irvine, Wes Koskela, Sam Dietrich, Michael Wood, Wade Sweeney, Brendan Maguire, Mark Mison.

MARIST BROTHERS: Craig Ferguson (c), Paul Simes, Joe Allen, Ben Cooper, Dain Moreton, Nick De Giusti, Toby Collings, Luke Collings, Stuart Rose, Steve Prosser, Jarred Seiffert, Adam Thompson.

Umpires: David Went, Kevin Fraser.

Hours: 11am to 6pm today and tomorrow.



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