Royals want to make up for lost time

Headshot of Cameron Newbold
Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Royals face Mt Barker in their first finals appearance since 2014-15 on Saturday.
Camera IconRoyals face Mt Barker in their first finals appearance since 2014-15 on Saturday. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Royals will be motivated to win this Saturday’s elimination final given their lack of recent finals appearances, according to captain Jack Hastie as they prepare for a fired-up Mt Barker outfit.

The Lions finished bottom last season but will have earned their first finals berth since 2014-15 and now face a Bulls side playing finals for the second straight year.

Hastie said despite his Lions side’s lack of finals experience, with Ted Batchelor the only member left from that losing semifinal team in 2014-15, they are ready to challenge.

“Obviously the boys are very excited with the opportunity this Saturday and quietly confident,” he said.

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“We have a lot of respect for Mt Barker, as we know they can beat anyone on their day.

“I don’t think we’ve played our best cricket yet despite our recent good results and we are keen to put our best foot forward.”

The Lions have won three of their last four games to reach the finals and will have an unchanged line-up from their most recent win over Manypeaks back in round 16.

The competition’s leading scorer Mitch Green looms as a big part of their winning hopes having formed a great opening partnership with young Digby Nuthall.

The Bulls lost last season’s preliminary final to Manypeaks but will aim to improve on that this weekend when the semifinals and preliminary final are played on consecutive days.

After waiting nervously on results last week to determine their finals fate, skipper Jeremy Wood said his side were excited to have another crack.

Mt Barker's Noah Middleton celebrates a wicket this season.
Camera IconMt Barker's Noah Middleton celebrates a wicket this season. Credit: Albany Advertiser

“On Saturday it was a bit touch and go, wondering if we would get in or not,” Wood said.

“Its pretty simple for us now we’ve just got to win.

“Getting (Jacob) Wintle back in the second half of the season has added a lot for us.

“Tradition and rivalry aside I think Saturday will be a great match up.

“Royals have done really well to get where they are and proven they can knock off the better sides.

“They have a couple of decent players we have to knock over early or we could be on the end of a defeat.”

Wintle has taken nine wickets in five games since returning from injury and forms a great bowling partnership with Wood.

Wood and Nathan Crosby are members of WA’s Australian Country Cricket Championship tour and boost the Bulls batting.

Bulls are full strength for the first semifinal on Turf South with the winner into Sunday’s preliminary final.

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