Swifts-Great Western will be hoping it can put its first loss of the season behind it as it takes on Aradale in the Grampians Cricket A grade semi-final.
The Combine are keen to get into the semi-final action in what is one of the higher pressure games of the season.
Marc Brilliant said the cut throat format brings pressure to all four sides trying to book their place in the grand final.
“Semi-final weekend is somewhat more difficult to win than the grand final,” Brilliant said.
“As it is cut throat, losers don’t go through, so the pressure is on everyone in both matches to hold their nerve and play well.”
The Combine have the slight advantage given they finished on top of the ladder.
Aradale finished in fourth position but are capable of playing high quality cricket.
Swifts-Great Western is a team that has great respect for all of its opposition and the players refuse to take Aradale lightly.
“The only real advantage is if it rains which it is not going too,” Brilliant said.
“All sides have a 50-50 chance of winning and that’s what makes the semi finals such a pressure game. Once you get to the finals everything that has already happened this season counts for nothing.”
The match-up will favour neither team as they both have strong batting and bowling line-ups.
Swifts-Great Western shares the work load around, with players contributing regularly while Aradale has its go to players.
Young Riley Wood has been in good form for the last month with the bat, making runs consistently while the inclusion of John Butler adds depth and experience to their bowling stocks.
“They will be a stronger team than last time we played them when we made 340 in the day,” Brilliant said.
For the Combine if they are given the opportunity they will most likely bat first.
Aradale would most likely do the same.
“In finals cricket it is just nice to get runs on the board,” Brilliant said.
“It is really important but the wicket should play well both days so it shouldn't really matter who bats first or second.”
Like they have done for most of the season the Combine will go into the match with an unchanged line-up.
That means James Devery and Sam Cocks up the top, followed by Travis Nicholson, Rick Peters, Jackson Dark and Tom Eckel.
Despite a strong first innings total and an eventual big win against Aradale last time they met, Swifts-Great Western will not be reading into previous results.
“They had a couple of bowlers unavailable but they batted at nearly full strength,” Brilliant said.
“It was probably our best all round batting performance for some seasons with everyone contributing, so we will be hoping to produce something similar on the weekend.”
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