RUTHERGLEN captain Greg Barras is banking on a better batting effort helping the Redlegs to secure their first Wangaratta and District Cricket Association A grade premiership today.
The Redlegs scraped through to the grand final against Wangaratta Magpies at the Norm Minns Oval last week despite making only 95 and 159 in their two knocks against Rovers United.
But the Rutherglen batting line-up will need to fire at some point due to the Magpies possessing proven run-making ability in the form of captain Luke Sims, Barry Grant, Wayne Ashton and Adrian Flett.
The Magpies also regain teenager Chris Thewlis who has made a century in his A grade debut season.
“It was exciting for us because we came out on top,” Barras said.
“But we lost a few finger nails along the way and the hair has gone a bit grey.
“In hindsight there were 40 wickets taken on the two days.
“You could say everybody didn’t fire with the bat.
“But we’ve focused on that a little bit and we obviously want to get off to a good start.
“Ideally we would like to shield our late-order batsmen until later in the day so they can play their natural game.”
The Redlegs were on the back foot in the semi-final when they slumped to 4-5 and the Magpies won’t be as charitable as their opponents last week.
Trevor Cooper, Russell Fulton, Matthew Grantham and Barras can all make runs in the middle order.
The Redlegs will be hoping the Ashdown brothers, Ben and Joe, who joined the team in the second half of the season, can fire with the bat at the top of the order.
Joe Ashdown has made a brilliant century in a one-dayer against the Magpies this season and Chris Jones can also be counted on for runs.
Barras joined the Redlegs when they played against the Magpies in the grand final three seasons ago.
They have made a similar surge into the grand final this season, but the captain is hoping to go one better.
“Wang are a fantastic side and in the three years I’ve been here they have probably been the yard stick,” Barras said.
“We had to have a set amount of wins before Christmas so we could utilise those guys.
“But they weren’t the focus on the weekend.
“The two boys from England had pretty low results for their standard.”
The Magpies missed the grand final last season after bowing out in the semi-finals and had to reverse a last round loss to Bruck to advance.
The bowling performance of the Magpies last week was first class with Neil Membrey, Paul Akers, Stuart Crisp and Simon Patterson being rewarded for their accuracy with multiple wickets.