Court House and Albion to match up in Gunnedah first grade grand final

Leading from the front: Skipper Matt Brady will be a key figure for Court House as they look to avenge last year's grand final loss and turn the tables on Albion.

Leading from the front: Skipper Matt Brady will be a key figure for Court House as they look to avenge last year's grand final loss and turn the tables on Albion.

Albion will be chasing a third straight JVJ McAdam Cup when they take on minor premiers Court House for the first grade silverware this weekend.

The benchmark all season, Court House already have the McDonagh Cup (One-Day) in their possession and had the minor premiership wrapped up with a couple of games still to play.

Yet they know they can’t afford to be complacent, as they learnt in last years decider and were given a reminder of when the two sides met in the final round.

The game finished in a tie after both suffered stunning collapses to make 58 in their first innings.

“The blokes did the job with the ball but we couldn’t come through with the bat,” Court House allrounder Farran Lamb said.

Cruising at 3-50 he felt they were probably guilty of being a bit complacent.

After leading them to the one day honours, Lamb stepped back from the captaincy for the two-dayers with Matt Brady taking over.

Both will have important roles to play with bat and ball. Brady is one of the most destructive batsmen in town as he showed with his blistering century during the recent Twenty20 competition, and Court House will be hoping he can find that touch. 

Albion captain Andy Mack possesses a similar ability to take a game away and keeping him quiet will be imperative to Court House’s chances. 

“Getting him early will be a key,” Lamb said.

“They all feed off Andy, and James (Mack) down the order.”

Court House have only been beaten once this season – an impressive effort given the chopping and changing they have to do. Every couple of weeks they have players unavailable with work commitments.

The players though coming in have done an “awesome job”, Lamb said.

Jay Urquhart is one of those not available regularly and will be a key at the top of the order, opening with Kaleb McIlveen.

If they can get them off to a good start it will go a long way towards the minimum 140 Lamb thinks they'll need.

“Batting first having runs on the board is a big thing,” he said.

They will though be tested by the Albion bowlers, Lamb singling out James Mack, Jamie Eveleigh and Andrew George as the main dangers.

Lamb believes one of Court House’s strengths is that they are an allround team. They bat down to nine or 10, and have plenty of bowling options, so much so that sometimes two or three don’t get a bowl.

A prominent figure in last years grand final, Mack, while crediting Court House as deserved minor premiers, said his side will be approaching the weekend still the same as any game.

"We've backed our skills all year, we just missed out on the minor premiership, but we know our best cricket is thereabouts,” he said.

"It is just a matter of putting it all together."