Hornets’ semi-final hero keen to claim elusive title

DROUGHT TO END: Mat Finlay at the crease for South Dubbo in last weekend's semi-final against Macquarie. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
DROUGHT TO END: Mat Finlay at the crease for South Dubbo in last weekend's semi-final against Macquarie. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Mat Finlay has played cricket long enough to know that being the best team all year doesn’t always translate into grand final glory.

He also knows that finding form at the right time can be the key to snatching an unlikely title win.

Which is what makes this weekend’s RSL-Whitney Cup grand final between his South Dubbo Hornets and minor premiers Rugby all the more intriguing.

Rugby have been the benchmark side all season and have the chance to add the first grade title to their McDonalds Megahit win a few weeks back.

Souths stumbled into the finals on the back of a loss to Newtown before winning a thrilling semi-final against Macquarie last weekend.

They did so on the back of a remarkable spell of bowling that saw the versatile all-rounder claim 5/10 to tear through the Blues’ lower order.

This weekend’s clash will be the Hornets’ third straight grand final, and after losses to Macquarie (2015/16) and RSL-Colts (2016/17) Finlay is hopeful his side can break their hoodoo.

“It’s good to be back there but hopefully we can win this one. I’ve lost about eight I reckon,” he said.

“Rugby have been pretty dominant and deserved to go straight through but we’re there so anything can happen in a grand final.

“If we can get runs on the board and get a couple of their key men out that will be huge.

“Pressure is a big thing in grand finals I think so hopefully we will go good.”

Boasting the likes of Jordan Moran, Nathan Munro, Ben Patterson and Adrian Carey, Rugby has one of the better balanced sides in Dubbo cricket.

But you get the impression from watching Souths play that they don’t care much about reputation.

And with the likes of Mitch Bower, Henry Railz, Will Lindsay and Finlay at their disposal, they too have a lot of bases covered.

But there’s a certain laid-back nature to the way they play their cricket in general that sums the Hornets up.

And that came through when Finlay was asked his thoughts on how to stop their opponents.

“They’re a good side, if they get on top they’re hard to stop,” he said.

“We’ve got to play good cricket over the two days. We don’t really need to change a lot from what we’ve been doing.

“We’ve got to get their key batsmen out cheaply and not throw our wickets away when we’re at the crease.

“All of the boys have played a fair bit of cricket now so we know what it takes. It’s just a matter of going out and executing on the two days.

“We’ve got a good team and we’ll go alright.”