Old mates turn foe for sudden death preliminary final

LAVINGTON captain Sam Harris has turned up the heat on predecessor James Tonkin ahead of this weekend’s Provincial showdown with Wodonga.

Last year’s premier faces off against the team many thought would succeed them as champion in the preliminary final.

There are several interesting plotlines to the game, with Tonkin lifting the premiership shield as Lavington captain last summer.

He’s now a Bulldog.

Harris, who starred with an unbeaten 91 in Lavington’s semi-final win over St Patrick’s, said Tonkin was more likely to have mixed feelings about the game than anyone at Lavington.

“Tonky would be more nervous than we are, I’d say,” Harris said.

“But we’ve obviously already played against each other this year.”

Tonkin made 11 and 13 in his two innings’ against his former team this summer.

Harris put the Panthers on his back at the weekend, batting all day Sunday to steer Lavington over the line in stunning fashion.

Despite labelling the knock the best of his career, Harris played down his influence on the result.

“Tommy Hargreave and Bryce Swift were the difference,” he said.

“I was struggling for a while there — I couldn’t hit it off the square.

“It was looking a bit gloomy there for a while.”

Although Lavington’s win over St Pat’s shocked plenty, Harris said the Panthers had never doubted their own ability.

He said they were always gunning for a result.

“We’ve always been confident in what we can produce,” he said.

“Tommy and Bryce stood up and it might be someone else’s turn this week.

“We’ve got a lot of talent there and know what we can do.”

In an extra twist, Harris, Hargreave and Jay Banks are poised to face off against their football coach, James Saker, who also plays for Wodonga.