The performances of two men could be critical in Friday night’s stand-alone Twenty20 fixture as the Castlereagh Hornets look to book their spot in the McDonalds Megahit finals.
Mitch Bower returns for the Hornets, the mature head and competition’s second highest run scorer possibly the key after missing a couple of weeks with a broken finger.
But Christies Crackerjacks’ leading run scorer in the RSL-Whitney Cup competition, Jason Green, poses a threat that Castlereagh opener Angus Norton warned could not be ignored.
“Greeny has hurt us twice this year already,” Norton said, making reference to Green’s match-winning scores of 87 and 82 in the sides’ two meetings in first grade this season.
“So we’d really like to get him cheap. He’s the real danger man for them
“We’re really excited to have Mitch Bower back. If he goes off, that should go a long way to winning the game.”
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The Hornets (5 points) sit second on the Megahit ladder, just one point behind the Amaroo Hotel Tigers (6 points).
But the competition is tight, with four teams in real contention for three finals spots.
The Bob Berry Blasters (third) and WPA Cougars (fourth) sit on four points, with the winner of their February 15 clash to lock their place in the top three.
The Amaroo Hotel Tigers face the Rugby Libery OneSteelers on February 8, and a win will guarantee the Tigers finish in first and progress straight to the final on March 1.
But a loss could see them finish as low as third, depending on other results.
Meanwhile, a loss by the Hornets on Friday – combined with a draw between Bob Berry Blasters and WPA Cougars – could see them drop out of finals contention altogether, courtesy of a poor net run rate (-3.1609, the lowest in the competition).
“It’s a really big game for us,” Norton said.
“Souths have been strong in the T20 as long as I’ve been there. Last year we lost the final to Rugby and the year before we beat Newtown in the final, so if we could actually bring home some silverware that would be massive.”
Souths sit sixth, 10 points shy of fifth, in the RSL-Whitney Cup competition, the points differential belying some narrow losses.
But Norton said “everyone’s been in really good form in the T20”.
“Obviously we’ve struggled on Saturdays so if we can win this and make the finals in the Megahit, that will be a big positive that we can take out of this season,” he said.
He said the “beauty of T20 cricket” was that “anyone can win on their day”.
“All it takes is anyone to have a big day and that can give you a win in a game that you could have easily lost.”
Friday’s McDonalds Megahit match between Christies Crackerjacks and the Castlereagh Hornets starts at 6.30pm.
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