TODAY’S Tamworth Baseball Association grand final could lack that little extra aggression and intensity that comes with a “be all-end all” decider.
The first grade grand final on John Carter Diamond at the Field of Dreams pits two sides from the one club – Warriors – against each other in a unique situation no one really anticipated at the start of the season when Warriors entered a junior side that became known as the Rainbow Warriors in the first grade competition.
It was a move designed to keep the first grade competition afloat, with just first grade sides from Cougars and struggling Gunnedah Giants registered.
So well have the Rainbow Warriors done, matured and improved throughout the year, that they earned a grand final berth against the minor premier senior Warriors with a 12-11 win over Cougars last Saturday.
Club stalwart Robert Chandler has been coaching the young side and, with his younger brother Jeff, will share the pitching duties.
“Pitching and defence win you big games,” Robert Chandler confided this week.
“They are the keys.
“I’m good for about one game a year now and that was six weeks ago.
“Jeff has been throwing well though.”
And Johnnie Warren has been pitching very well for the seniors.
The two Handsakers, Nathan and Ryan, have also been going good and Ryan has pitched a heap as well.
“One advantage we have is that our young blokes have been able to train at least twice a week but that probably doesn’t equate to the 10 years plus grand final experience Mick Martin, Johnnie Warren and Jungles (James Ardill) have,” Chandler said.
“And this is not going to be like a normal grand final where you can pump up and get aggressive because at the end of the game we’ll all have a beer as usual.”
That’s been a feature of the Warrior season.
Both teams have come together for a beer and a fine session on the diamond before heading off to the West Tamworth Sports and Bowling Club.
The bond in the club has been enhanced this year as well, not just by the improving form and efforts of both sides but also by the family atmosphere.
“We’ve got three sets of brothers all playing in this grand final,” Rob Chandler noted.
“There’s Jeff and I, the three Holts – Joey, Sam and Mitch – and the two Handsakers – Ryan and Nathan.
“That’s pretty cool.
“Sure, the senior Warriors have the experience to beat us but we’ve also beaten them twice in the five games we’ve played them this year.
“We would have been quite happy to sit on the sideline and cheer the boys on too if Cougars had beaten us last week but now we’re there, we’ll give them a run.
“My only problem is that four of the side have finished their Year 12 and only have the HSC to do now.
“Heaven knows what state they’ll be in after their muck- up days.”