Mitch Swain says Gunnedah will secure a War Veterans Cup final spot by beating Armidale at Wolseley Park on Sunday, when the side resumes their search for redemption.
Gunnedah are motivated by the disappointment of missing out on last season’s final after a last-round away loss to Inverell.
With two games remaining, Gunnedah are second on the ladder – one point behind reigning champions Narrabri.
Swain said a home final awaited Gunnedah if they beat Armidale and then downed Inverell away in the last round on February 10. Narrabri have a bye this weekend.
There’s definitely an expectation from us that we go one better this year and make the final.Mitchell Swain
Gunnedah produced a big effort in their bid to win last season’s Cup, with the town’s top players answering the selection call. That enthusiasm has flowed over to this campaign.
Swain said: “We were very disappointed about last year and how the end of that unfolded.
“There’s definitely an expectation from us that we go one better this year and make the final – and then reassess it.
“But it starts this weekend. And Armidale, if they manage to get a side together, they’ll certainly be pretty competitive. They still have some reasonable cricketers up in that area.”
Swain said Gunnedah would field a near full-strength side on Sunday and would go into the match confident, as “we’ve got blokes scoring runs and taking wickets and in a bit of form”.
“We’ll have a couple out through shift work at the mines [Kyle Gallen and Ben Haire],” he added. “So we won’t quite be a full strength, but we'll be reasonably close [to full strength].”
Swain said Brad Jenkinson was still recovering from a shoulder injury and would not bowl, but would be used as a specialist batsman.