HE’S been there to watch plenty of big games over the years but tomorrow Aaron Hazlewood will finally get the chance to play on the hallowed SCG turf, and in an SCG Country Cup final.
The Old Boys allrounder has been the unlucky 12th man and consigned to carrying the drinks in three of Tamworth’s appearances in the final.
Tomorrow will be its fifth.
It’ll be chasing a third title after claiming the prestigious silverware in 2008-09 and in 2010-11.
Hazlewood can’t wait.
“I’m keen to get out there and have a go,” he said.
So keen was he, he was driving back to Nyngan on Thursday, working Thursday and last night, and flying down to Sydney this morning.
“I didn’t want to miss this chance,” Hazlewood said.“I mightn’t get another one.”
“Hopefully we can get a win up.”
Tamworth will take on four-times champions Hamilton-Wickham and, while it won’t be at full strength, the inclusion of Hazlewood and Kris Halloran is a boost.
Both missed the finals series but would have been in the squad if they were available.
“I couldn’t get away that couple of days,” Hazlewood said.
“But the boys did pretty well.”
He was checking updates on Facebook and following them the best he could.
As a genuine allrounder, he looms as one of Tamworth’s key weapons.
He’ll probably bowl at first or second change and has the ability with the bat to take the game away from a side.
Where he comes in will depend on the situation.
He’ll be listed probably at about six or seven but could be employed higher up as a pinch-hitter.
He comes into the game in pretty good form too.
“I’m pretty happy with my form this year considering I’ve only played every second week,” Hazlewood said.
“With both the bat and ball.”
Despite only playing four games, he sits third in the Tamworth batting standings with 263 runs at an average of 87.67.
He’s taken eight wickets on top of that.
Tamworth earned its spot in the final by beating Albury-Wodonga and Lake Illawarra but Hamilton-Wickham will be another step up.
“They’ve got four or five pretty handy players,” Hazlewood said.
He mentioned the likes of the Trappel brothers, and Webber brothers Matt and Sam.
“We’re going to have to work hard,” he said.
The plan will be “to try to bat first and put the runs on the board and then try to restrict them with the bowling”.
He is hoping Old Boys team-mate Simon Norvill and new skipper Michael Rixon can replicate their War Veterans Cup form and get them “off to a flyer” .
Twice they’ve put on a 100-plus opening partnership.
Hazlewood thought something around 220/230 would be competitive.