Workers Gol Gol spearhead Matt Cameron. Photo: PAUL MENSCH
By MITCH RODD
ONE hurdle down, one to go.
Workers Gol Gol have reversed a series of Sunraysia Cricket Association (SCA) semi-final defeats and have their sights set on the First Division premiership.
Standing in their way is a talented Mildura Settlers line-up, led by the wrecking ball that is Jason Morrison.
Since their last premiership in 2011/12, Workers have lost four semi-finals and one grand final, a feat even harder to swallow by the fact they have had one of the most talented squads for the past decade.
Now boasting a first-rate bowling attack and a deep batting order, captain Adam Thomson believes his squad can take it to Setts on Saturday and Sunday at George Gordon Oval.
“Hopefully the boys are confident,” he said.
“We beat them twice through the season. It probably doesn’t count for much now but hopefully the boys can play at their best.
“The depth of our bowling attack is a big positive. Matty Boyd has taken 12 wickets in the past three matches and is really on top of his game, and Jake Albrecht got the ball to swing nicely last weekend.
“Those two boys opened the bowling for most of the year and now they’re at first and second change. Add to that ‘Dewey’ (Matt) Cameron, Aidan Calarco and Nick Jensen and you’ve got five quality frontline bowlers.
“Having Aidan and Nick who can inside the top five as well makes a big difference.”
The bowling attack will need to be at their best against Morrison, who has made 216 runs in just 161 deliveries across his last two innings.
Workers have experienced both sides to the Setts star across the season. Morrison too the Workers attack for 104 back in Round Four, however they also dismissed for just two during their one-day win during Round Eight.
Thomson said Settlers are a quality outfit, and Morrison was not the only danger man in their batting order.
“You don’t play in five grand finals in a row if you’re not a quality outfit,” he said.
“‘Jase’ is probably the in-form cricketer of the competition at the moment. He’s made a bit over 200 runs in the last couple of innings and has only been dismissed once, so he’s definitely the man we need to look out for.
“Jase got 100 against us in our two-day match-up, but we got them out for 150, and I think we got him for two in our one-day game, so we’re probably one-all against him at the moment.
“They have plenty of batting as well, Richie Wyld is obviously a great player and Tarque Williamson can take the game away from you in no time.”
Workers came up against premiership dark horses Coomealla Wentworth in last week’s semi-final, and a selection in the end provided relief.
Opener Jesse McGinty was dropped to to Second Division for the final round of the season, and immediately made an unbeaten 125.
Chairman of selectors Tony Hickey recalled McGinty and the decision paid dividends. Despite batting in the unfamiliar number eight position, a solid 41 not out helped push Workers total along to 177.
West Indian import Shacaya Thomas continued his upward turn in form at the top of the order. Following 33 at better than a run a ball in the final one day match of the season, he notched up 65 from 112 deliveries against Coomealla Wentworth.
Justin Freeman, one of the stars of the season, took 3/44 for the Blues.
Tom Douglas and Luke Cullinan got the Blues off to a solid start, however a stunning one-handed catch from Wade Hancock to dismiss Cullinan for 20 from the bowling of Calarco “changed the game”, according to Thomson.
“Starting at 0/35 they were looking pretty solid and then Wade took a one-handed screamer in the slips to get the first wicket. Aidan then got another wicket next ball and it was definitely a game changer,” he said.
While Calarco missed out on the hat-trick, he started the rot. Only Douglas (22) and Fraser Neser (19) made double figures as Jake Albrecht (4/21) and Matt Boyd (3/20) running through the middle and lower order.
“The scoreboard probably made it look a bit easier than it actually was,” Thomson said.
“We always thought 170 was about par but we managed to bowl really well.”