New City will be without star import Saif Zaib next year.
“He’s already linked to another club, either in South Africa or grade cricket in either Brisbane or Melbourne, that’s where he’s looking,” coach Nick McDonald said.
“But we’re definitely hoping for Sam (Grant), we’re really hoping he’ll come back, he’s been fantastic.”
Englishman Grant finished with 285 runs at 28.5, batting almost everywhere, with 26 wickets at 16.0.
East Albury will again look overseas next season.
The Crows had fringe Jersey international Dom Blampied as their import and the two parties have spoken.
“It seems to be the way, it’s just so hard to find players around here,” coach Dylan Weeding said.
The Crows don’t have the ‘name’ players and they never had star pace recruit Ryan de Vries.
“We’ll get Ryan back and we probably just need another top-order bat, another 300-400 runs,” he said.
East fell in the semi-final for the second year.
A number of clubs could lay claim to the best import, but North Albury says it has the number one in Englishman Ryan Addison.
“We believed last year he was the best import in the comp by being able to bat and bowl and we still think that this year,” captain Ash Borella said.
“Tallangatta had two spinners on with the field up and we sent him in to do a job, to put the bad ball away.”
Addison smashed 47 from just 64 balls with five boundaries and three sixes.
He now has 242 runs at 20 and 19 wickets at 22.
North Albury is coming home like a steam train and the fact star all-rounder Greg Daniel had little impact against the Bushies is another positive.
Daniel failed to take a wicket, while he chipped in with 13 not out.
The veteran now has 443 runs at 44.3, with an incredible six not outs.
The chance of two quiet games is extremely remote.
Meanwhile, Wodonga made almost 270 runs without its gun bat in coach Robbie Jackson, who hasn’t played in a month since injuring his calf.
North Albury opener Ben Paddle has found form at the perfect time.
The teenager has proven the ideal foil for the more aggressive Ash Borella.
He struck his maiden provincial ton against Wodonga in the final round and followed that with a patient 36 from 129 balls against Tallangatta.
Two other preliminary finalists will also look to key batsmen to regain form.
Lavington’s Matt Tom and Tallangatta’s Matt Armstrong started with a stack of half-centuries, but it’s been quiet since Christmas.
New City’s effort in making finals has been the story of the season, but late injuries or unavailability didn’t help.
“We lost (captain Steve McLennan) ‘Macca’ and Liam Fitzsimmons halfway through the game (against Lavington),” coach Nick McDonald said.
“Liam’s got a bulging disc in his back and ‘Macca’ actually tripped on some warm-up gear at the first drinks break and did his ankle.”
There’s some good news though for the McLennan family with Adam returning to work after a frightening battle with encephalitis.