Keen captains eye T20 cricket crown
BATSMEN Luke Hall and Nathan Hoey will be chasing their first piece of silverware as captains in the Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket Twenty20 finals tomorrow.
Ballina Bears and Tintenbar-East Ballina clash in the first semi-final with the winner to play Cudgen or Marist Brothers in the final at Reg Dalton Oval, Kingscliff.
Hall assumed the captaincy only midway through last season but had been groomed for the role, taking over from former NSW Country representative Justin Moore.
Moore is still in the team along with the likes of veterans Sam Adams, Ben Carruthers and Toby Hordern.
Hordern was quick to anoint Hall as "Captain Cranky” and the 26-year-old has come to embrace it.
"I can get a bit grumpy at times but usually it's over my own performance or if I think we've played particularly poorly in a certain area,” Hall said.
"Justin made it a pretty easy trans-ition and he used to include me in all the discussions so I was definitely trained up well.
"You look at our team and there are probably six guys ahead of me that could have done it.
"I do enjoy the challenge though.
"This (T20 final) is good for the club. We haven't played finals for a while and some of our guys haven't been in a winning team together.”
Each team in the play-offs has a key batsman who has scored a century in T20 cricket and can provide a match-winning innings.
Brothers have opener Ash Simes while Cudgen has NSW Country rep Caleb Ziebell, who was just named player of the carnival and picked in the Australian Country merit team following the Australian Country Championships in Victoria.
Moore is the man for Bears while Abe Crawford is the big hitter for Tintenbar-East Ballina.
Hoey has captained the 'Bar for a few years now and played a key role in them qualifying for the T20 finals when he top-scored in a final-round win over Bears.
"Bears are stacked with players that can do some damage and we expect a tough game,” he said.
"There isn't much to go off from the rain-affected rounds; there are probably a few teams that missed out who could have been here.
"Each side has a match-winner and it's all unpredictable in this format.
"Winning it isn't beyond us, though. We started poor but have played some good cricket as the season's gone on.”