Final chance for South Tamworth to make grand final

Impressive: South Tamworth will be hoping Ryan Meppem can carry on from his major semi-final effort when they take on West Tamworth. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Impressive: South Tamworth will be hoping Ryan Meppem can carry on from his major semi-final effort when they take on West Tamworth. Photo: Gareth Gardner

It's been their weak point in recent weeks but South Tamworth will have to get it right with the bat against a firing West Tamworth attack this weekend.

There are no second chances this time to make the grand final. 

Wests demonstrated again the damage they can do with the ball in the minor semi final last weekend.

In the space of a couple of hours on Sunday morning they sent Norths tumbling out of the premiership race.

Souths had their own batting disaster - routed by Old Boys for just 55 in their first innings after spiralling to 8-55 at stumps on the first day.

That hour and a half was the difference in the end.

“Take that hour and a half out and we actually played alright,” Souths skipper Tom Groth said.

Not surprisingly Groth pinpointed their batting as where they need to improve for this weekend. 

“We’ve got to bat better. Bat smarter and play a bit straighter,” he said.

They got caught playing across the line.

“We batted pretty well in the second innings.

“We worked it out,” he said.

The damage had been done by then though.

Bowling wise there wasn't a lot they did wrong. 

Ryan Meppem had arguably his best game for Souths - supporting pace trio tom O'Neill, Angus McNeill and Troy Osborne brilliantly. 

"Ryan bowled really well,” Groth said.

“He turned it. He changed his pace, did everything well.”

He finished with nine wickets for the game including five in the second innings.

The battle of the attacks will be one of the interesting sidelines with both stacked with quality.

O’Neill and McNeill have with Wests paceman Brendon Reynolds, formed a formidable pace trio for Tamworth, while Meppem and Tom Scoble both played for the ACT/NSW Country U19s earlier in the season.

The third arm of Wests pace armory is skipper Tim Kensell, who many still consider one of the best allrounders in the competition.

Harrison Kelly has also been a handy addition following his mid-season move from Bective-East while Dan Collinson is enjoying one of his best seasons.

Last week he also showed his capabilities with the bat hitting 58 opening the batting. 

“Wests have got a good side on paper. It’s going to be a good game,” Groth said.

Wests will be without Shawn Mepham. He has work commitments and will be replaced by Jeff Cook.

Starting to find a bit of form, Kensell said it is unfortunate, but one of the secrets of their success in recent weeks is that different players have been stepping up each week, especially with the bat.

He said they don’t really need to do anything differently to what they did last weekend, other than possibly take a some of those half chances.

“We’ll just try and bat first and build the scoreboard pressure,” Kensell said. 

“If we can get close to that 200 mark batting first it’s always hard to chase down.”

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