Narrabri District Cricket Association Namoi Super Slog T20 competition defending champions Specialised Civil Services are on a roll and can achieve two 2020-21 campaign milestones with a win this Friday night.
Following a horror start to the season which saw the side lose by 10 wickets to WTC Earthmoving, Specialised Civil Services has since scored 23 and 126-run wins against Priag Marketing and Rose Pest Control respectively.
In round four on Friday, the defending champions will challenge WTC Earthmoving at Hogan Oval.
If Specialised Civil Services wins that match it would become the first team to defeat all three opponents in the 2020-21 competition, and would also become the first team to win three consecutive games.
The side’s skipper Nick Smart is in form and leads the way in the batting after three rounds. He currently leads the run-scorers’ tally with 148 runs, 85 more than Priag Marketing’s Luke Meppem who is currently ranked second with 63 runs.
Smart said that the competition ladder standings after the first three rounds, and the results during the first half of the season, had surprised him.
“I think it’s a lot more even than I first anticipated, team-wise,” Smart told The Courier.
“I initially thought that there were a couple of strong teams and a couple of weaker teams but I’ve been proved wrong there.
“It’s quite an even competition and from what I’ve seen anybody can win it.
“I’m pretty confident in our chances though.
“After two wins in a row we have a bit of confidence behind us which is good so hopefully we can keep on a bit of a roll.”
So far this season, four of the six matches have been won by the team which has batted first and only WTC Earthmoving has chased to win, which it has done twice in round one and two victories.
Smart said that winning the toss and batting first would be his game plan for the remainder of the season, and that his side was determined to score another big first innings total on Friday against WTC Earthmoving at Hogan Oval.
“I think batting first is crucial in T20s, there’s so much scoreboard pressure,” Smart said.
“For us we’ll be looking to win the toss, bat first and defend whatever we get with our good bowling attack.
“I back our team to defend any total, obviously greater than 60 (referring to a 10-wicket loss in round one against WTC Earthmoving when Specialised Civil Services batted first and scored 61 before losing by 10 wickets).
“In that loss against WTC we clearly didn’t score enough runs, then we came up against two guys (Mick Dowdell and Cody Kember) who are destructive players on their day, and that day was their day.
“We bowled well and fielded well without taking a wicket.
“This Friday when we play them again we need to focus on getting a more defendable total if we bat first, we really don’t need to change anything.”
As expected, Smart has been his side’s key player again in the 2020-21 campaign.
However, he said his Specialised Civil Services teammate, veteran allrounder Chris Sargent, had been the side’s best player so far this season.
“I’ve been extremely impressed with Sarge,” Smart said.
“He’s the best spinner in the comp, and you take Jake Brayshaw out he’s the best spinner in Narrabri cricket at the moment.
“The amount of experience he brings is incredible and his batting is up there too, he smacked 40 for us there in the last game which was super handy.
“Like I said, I’ve been so impressed with him, he’s been our best player.”
In the other round four game on Friday night, Rose Pest Control will go in search of its first win of the season when it takes on Priag Marketing at Collins Park.
Rose Pest Control is currently last on the ladder, and a loss on Friday would end its chances of reaching the January 29 grand final.
The struggling side suffered its biggest loss of the season in round three when it was outscored by 126 runs by Smart’s Specialised Civil Services.
Rose Pest Control was only able to field nine players in that game, one of whom was an undrafted pool player.
Captain Ty Baker will return for the round four clash. He said that he expected to have a full strength team to choose from for Friday’s must-win game, with the exception of the injured Steve Phelps who will miss the remainder of the competition.
If Rose Pest Control does win in round four, the winner of the match at Hogan Oval will finish the round in outright first position on the ladder.To order photos from this page click here