NARRABRI might not be able to make the War Veterans Cup final but it can have an influence on where it’s played.
If it beats Tamworth at Collins Park tomorrow the final will be either in Armidale or Gunnedah depending on who wins that clash at Gunnedah.
Narrabri is desperate for a win. It has played a lot better than its five points suggests.
“Apart from the two games either side of Christmas we’ve been competitive enough,” skipper Lachie Cameron said.
“Three out of the five games we’ve got 220 plus. Most times you win those games.”
They just haven’t been able to quite put it together with both bat and ball.
“It’s probably just a session that has cost us. Against Gunnedah the last session we fell away,” Cameron said.
They had them on the back foot but couldn’t finish off the job.
“It’s just been one session that’s cost us games,” Cameron said.
Most games. Against Tamworth last time it was more than that.
After coming over with high hopes of giving them a competitive game, they were humbled by 10 wickets.
Cameron is confident of a better showing tomorrow.
They’ve had success against Tamworth sides in the past at home, and know the vagaries of the ground.
“All it takes is someone to bat through the innings and again, when we bowl, taking our catches and one of our strike bowlers stepping up,” he said.
“Chris Holland was really good against Gunnedah.
“It was the best I’ve seen him bowl.”
“He got up them a bit, which was good to see.
“He bowled aggressively.”
He’s hoping he can do the same tomorrow and maybe provide a couple of early wickets.
Last time they weren’t really able to put any pressure on the Tamworth batsmen.
But they didn’t have the runs on the board either.
“If we can manage to get 200 against Tamworth it’s anyone’s game,” Cameron said.
Selectors have named a similar side to the one that narrowly lost to Gunnedah, with Shane Smith and Mick Baker coming back in.
They add some experience to what is a fairly young attack.
Tamworth is in the same boat. Five of its bowlers are 21 or under, with the likes of Luke Paterson getting a chance.
“It’s good for him to get an opportunity. He’s been bowling pretty well from what I’ve heard,” skipper Tom Groth said.
He is expecting Narrabri to be better than it was last time.
“They’ll be fired up,” he said.
“They’ve been pretty unlucky.
“They’ve scored some good runs.”
There’s also the incentive that they can ruin Tamworth’s home final hopes.
Tamworth shouldn’t miss out on the final but need to come away with the points to be a chance of hosting it.
They are coming off an eight wicket win over Armidale and again look strong in the batting department.
“We’ve got to make sure we build a few partnerships out there,” Groth said.
If they do, the batting is there to make a pretty handy score.
“If we can get over the 200 mark that will give us something to bowl at,” he said.
It will be a double header out at Narrabri, with the Seconds taking on Quirindi in the MA Connolly Cup.
That, too, is an important game, with probably six sides jostling for the four semi-final spots.
Narrabri is one of those and tomorrow will be its last chance to press its claim.
It has the bye in the last round.
Tamworth heads up the highway to face Dumaresq Colts, while Inverell makes its way out to Moree in the other games.
Both are also in semi-final contention, as is Tamworth.