Easts and Hillgrove to meet in decider

REMATCH: Josh Croft in action for the undefeated Hillgrove team earlier in the season. They face second-placed Easts in the one-day final at the Sportsground on Sunday.

REMATCH: Josh Croft in action for the undefeated Hillgrove team earlier in the season. They face second-placed Easts in the one-day final at the Sportsground on Sunday.

Cross-town rivals Hillgrove and Easts will once again do battle in a final with the two sides coming up against each other in Armidale District Cricket’s one-day decider on Sunday. 

The two teams met in last year’s title match, with Easts coming away with the prize.

Hillgrove are yet to be beaten this season but Easts captain Sam Uphill said if his side played to their potential, it could be anyone’s game. 

"We have to bowl well. They have an awesome top six so you just have to take wickets early and you have to get their two openers out,” he said.

"[Matt] Baillie is a big wicket and [Matt] Schaefer will take the game away from you quickly, [Josh] Croft is the sort of bloke that is going to knuckle down and he will work hard to take the game away from you.

“If you take those wickets early, they have someone like Brad King who comes in at five who is pretty good nick and probably the best nick he has been for some years now so we have to take wickets early with the new ball.”

We have to bowl well. They have an awesome top six so you just have to take wickets early and you have to get their two openers out.

Sam Uphill

Easts had the bye in the first round of the new year but have the chance dust off the cobwebs for the decider in their one-day game against City on Saturday. 

Uphill said his team “won't take [City] lightly, of course, but at least we get a little bit of cricket under our belt before the final.”

While Easts have yet to hit the pitch this year, Hillgrove continued their dominance on Saturday against City. After making 208 on the back of 77 from King, they then routed City for 73 with Schaefer snaring three wickets.

Although his side are still undefeated, Hillgrove captain Matt Baillie said they still have to be wary against a dangerous Easts’ lineup. 

"It is always a really competitive game between us and Easts so hopefully we can get ourselves into a bit of a groove on Saturday against Baa Baas and then continue it Sunday against Easts,” he said. 

"We can never be too complacent against Easts because they do have a couple of players who can take the game away from you really quickly. 

"We have got to be on the ball and hopefully we can keep doing what we have been doing.”

All-rounder Schaefer has been the form player for the side in recent games and Baillie expects him to step up once again for the final.

"He is tearing it up at the moment which is awesome so hopefully he can keep doing it,” he said.

The game will be played from 12.45pm at the Sportsground.