INVERELL is hoping for an early Christmas present at Harwood (Yamba) tomorrow.
The Jeremy Baxter-led side will take on Lower Clarence for a spot in the Country Plate semi-finals.
They’ll be played at Cootamundra on December 28.
Inverell beat Upper Hunter by five wickets late last month to win through to the quarter- finals and will take an arguably stronger side to the coast.
Lachlan Binnie, Tom Lavender and Mitch Porter all come back in.
“The three boys back in will strengthen the batting line-up,” Baxter said.
They also make it a better-balanced side. Against Upper Hunter, Inverell was a bit bowler-heavy.
Lavender will slip in at the top of the order.
Richard Wilson will open with him, with Dave Mudaliar moving back to four and Binnie to come it at three.
“We’ll work out the rest from there,” Baxter said.
Mudaliar top-scored with 82 against Upper Hunter and has been among the runs since.
He and Nick Cummings both scored half-centuries last weekend.
The bowling is pretty much as it has been through the competition. Matt Fox is the only one really missing.
He’s got to travel away for work on Monday.
Porter will also add to the bowling. He’ll come on as a change bowler.
Baxter said all the players are keen to be involved in the finals.
“It’ll be good. Everyone’s excited,” Baxter said.
“We had a good training run on Tuesday.”
They head over confident after beating Glen Innes, Moree and then Upper Hunter but will have to field well to get the result tomorrow.
“We have to field well, that’s the main thing,” Baxter said.
Baxter said it didn’t faze him whether they bat or bowl first. He’s got faith in the batters and the bowlers.
“If we can field well and back the bowling attack we’ve got, we should do well,” he said.
The bowlers have really been setting the example. They’ve been taking wickets, which has made the job easier for the batsmen.
And early wickets.
“That’s probably the best thing that can happen, picking up early wickets and getting the three, four or five out there facing the new ball,” Baxter said.
All three games in the Plate, Inverell has been chasing.
It has batted first at least once though.
“We batted first against Armidale (Dumaresq Colts),” Baxter said.
Inverell made 280 for the loss of six or seven wickets before the game was washed out.
Another score like that would be good tomorrow.
Baxter doesn’t know anything about Lower Clarence.
There’s not a lot to pick up from its results either.
The North Coast side has played just the one game so far.
It had the bye in the first round and beat Gloucester on the wash-out ruling last round.
The one game it had was against Nambucca Valley and, after making 8-260, it bowled Nambucca out for 106.
INVERELL: Jeremy Baxter (capt), Dave Mudaliar, Darren Pithers, Lachlan Binnie, Tom Lavender, Shaun Rynne, Michael Lettinger, Nick Cumming, Mitch Porter, John Krauss, Richard Wilson, Simon Donnelly.