Warwick's Slade Shield hopes hinge on Cleary
NEIL Cantwell has no doubt Warwick will be hard to beat in the Slade Shield final on Sunday if trump card John Cleary fires straight after setting a new points record to win the Condamine Sports Club Player of the Week award.
Neil captains the GJ Gardner Homes Warwick Bulls team which will play Goondiwindi at Riddles Oval at 9.30am in a 50-over game.
If Warwick wins, it will be the first time the Slade Shield has returned home to Slade Park in Warwick for 25 years.
The Malone brothers, Brendan and Chris, are in the Warwick team this year, their father Trevor was in the winning Warwick team in 1988-1989.
"If John Cleary fires, it will make it very difficult for the Goondiwindi team," Neil said.
"His best value to the team is as an opening bowler but his ability with the bat is very valuable so we use him at number 5."
Last Sunday, Cleary scored 205 for Warwick Hotel Colts, took 4-42 with the ball and two catches for a total of 315 in player of the year points. It was only the fifth double century in the past 25 years in Warwick cricket.
Cleary's regular opening bowling partner Matt Elford has other cricket commitments so Chris Cantwell is likely to have second use of the new ball.
The other 10 players in the team which beat Central Downs to win the Mitchell Shield are available and have been joined by Davis Shield all-rounders Jason Steketee and Shaun O'Leary in the 12.
Steketee is a hard-hitting batsman who has improved his medium-pace bowling this year while O'Leary is the leg-spin option after taking 3-28 off nine overs in his side's loss to Lockyer in the Davis Shield final.
"The final 11 will be decided by how the wicket looks," Neil said.
Neil said his bowlers had to get it right in the first few overs or they could have a long day in the field.
"We need to keen to the same plan which worked in the Mitchell Shield final win," he said.
Goondiwindi beat Tara to qualify for Sunday's final.
- Neil Cantwell
- Jamie Saunders
- Brendan Malone
- Rob Lindsay
- Mick Bourke
- John Cleary
- Jason Steketee
- Paul Cantwell
- Chris Malone
- Brett McEvoy
- Chris Cantwell
- Shaun O'Leary
- Col O'Brien - manager