PILLIGA might feel a little bit lucky to be hosting tomorrow’s MA Connolly Cup semi-final against Glen Innes having only played one game this year but that won’t stop it claiming a place in the final if it good enough.
A good win over Narrabri in its only game and a series of forfeits have given Pilliga enough points to claim second spot in the competition.
“We’ll take it I suppose,” Pilliga captain Chris Hartnett said.
Glen has been in good form this summer with two good wins over the Dumaresq Colts and a Country Plate success against another top four side, Inverell.
But the long trip to Wee Waa is a tough one for any side and it needs to improve from its loss to Tamworth last week in which it bowled 50 wides.
“Tamworth only just got over them,” Hartnett said.
“But they bowled a few extras I heard.
“We usually average between 20 and 30.”
Disciplined bowling might be even more vital considering the batting strength in both teams.
Both are used to playing on synthetic wickets and Hartnett will aim for a big score if Pilliga bats first.
“I think 300 plus for sure,” he said. “The boundaries aren’t huge, although the the ground might be slow.
“It (the grass) is pretty thick.
“Batting the overs is the main thing.
“We only play 35 overs out here and a few twenty20s so we’re not used to it at all.
“If we can bat 40 it’s usually enough.”
Both Ty Baker and Toby Reynolds are coming off centuries and there is no shortage of hitting power throughout the rest of the side either.
Glen also boasts its share of hitting power but can’t afford to get too caught up in that or it will cost them like it did against Tamworth last week.
Several of the batsmen were guilty of throwing their wickets away and, chasing 168, they could only manage 151.
Skipper Adrian Sippel knows with the batsmen they’ve got they’ve got more runs in them than that.
“Nathan Purvis has been solid at the top,” he said.
“And Nick Lehman was looking good until he threw his wicket away.”
In the end it was left to Joel Jackson to try to get them home.
It’s a role he’s not that accustomed to – the steadying role – but it augurs well for Glen that he can do it.
“It’s handy having him. If you get a good start you can throw him in and give him a licence,” Sippel said.
Or if need be, he can play the anchor role.
With Shawn Meppem back in this week too it gives the order a bit more stability and experience.
Sippel is unsure about what to expect.
He’s never played Pilliga or at Wee Waa.
PILLIGA: Chris Hartnett, Justin Knight, Ty Baker, Toby Reynolds, Jay Hall, Chris Smith, Brenton Cochrane, Luke Stawski, Tony Chaplin, two to be added.