Griffith claims underdog tag in Country Shield


GRIFFITH skipper Marc Tucker has lunged straight for the underdog tag ahead of Sunday's massive SCG Country Shield quarter-final against Cowra.

Despite naming yet another squad packed with quality for Griffith's first road trip of the competition, Tucker denies the burden of expectation is weighing down on the side.

Griffith's campaign so far has rekindled memories of the glory days of local rep cricket especially since many of the players named have top-tier SCG Cup experience.

But the laconic Tucker said his men will simply take one of the biggest weekends for Griffith cricket in years as it comes.

"There'll be a bit of pressure," he admitted.

"We're pretty happy though there's not too much pressure on us, because we're only a small country town going on to play all the big towns now.

"Everyone's pretty keen everyone in the team I've bumped into in the last week or so has been talking about how they can't wait to go to Cowra. It's going to be really good.

"If we can go over there the way we've been playing in the last few games we'll be going alright."

The majority of players will make the trip to Cowra on Saturday night, immediately after fulfilling their club cricket duties.

Tucker and the selectors have been spoiled for choice once again with several of Griffith's best players in red-hot form.

Only one change has been made to the side that beat the Murray Valley Colts last month with Coro paceman Alex Flood coming in for Hanwood all-rounder Tom Shannon, who has been named as a reserve.

Leagues Club captain Paul Plummer was originally named in the side but his troublesome finger injury has kept him from bowling for the last few weeks, and he will sit Sunday's clash out.

"He still hasn't bowled much this year and didn't want to come over as an all-rounder who couldn't bowl," Tucker said.

"Floody's been in good form so we decided to go with him.

"We'll probably look at using Chris Mansell and Satvir Chahal as our openers, they bowled well at the start of the game last time.

"Then we've got Jarrod, Floody and myself, so there's plenty of bowling ability."

In the batting department, Griffith's top-order looks unshakable on paper with Tim Rand and Phil Burge likely to open, followed by Coro's Haydn Pascoe, Yenda's Tom Spry, Exies star Alastair Burge and NSW Country under 17s representative Connor Matheson.

Should all of those fail, Griffith still has insurance with even the tail-enders more than capable of holding down an end.

"Everyone's in form," a delighted Tucker said.

"Phil and Alastair are in great form and Haydn and Timmy batted well there for a few weeks.

"Everyone's in reasonable nick and all the bowlers have been getting wickets. We're looking real good."

Tucker said he knew little about the challenge that will be presented by a Cowra side that defeated the Blue Mountains and Dubbo to reach the quarter-finals.

The semi-finals and final of the SCG Country Shield will also be held in Cowra, regardless of the teams that qualify.

"I've heard they've got a few NSW under 19s players or something - that could be a bit of trash talk," Tucker said.

"We won't know until we get over there so we'll treat it like any other game and play it as we see it."

SQUAD: Tim Rand, Phil Burge, Haydn Pascoe, Tom Spry, Alistair Burge (wk), Connor Matheson, Alex Flood, Shaun Stubbs, Jarrod Cahill, Marc Tucker (c), Chris Mansell, Satvir Chahal. Reserve: Tom Shannon.

LEADING THE WAY: Griffith captain Marc Tucker.

LEADING THE WAY: Griffith captain Marc Tucker.


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