TORONTO Workers captain Paul Toole said his team would have to hold its nerve under pressure to win its Newcastle district cricket semi-final against Hamilton-Wickham this weekend.
The Kookaburras secured third position, and a semi-final berth, with a win over Waratah-Mayfield on Saturday.
It was a win characterised by resilience and courage on a difficult wicket.
Toole said Toronto battled hard to compile 104 on a rain-affected track at Waratah Oval.
Nathan Hudson (32) and Adrian Chad (20) led the scoring.
Toronto’s young quicks Andrew Somerville (4-25) and Griffin Lea (3-25) then combined to restrict the home team to just 98.
The win meant Toronto saw off the challenge of defending premiers Merewether who could have leapfrogged the Kookaburras into the finals had Toole’s men stumbled.
“It wasn’t easy out there,” Toole said of the lively wicket.
“Our batsman did a good job to get us to that score.”
A disciplined effort in the field sealed the result.
Toronto will now meet second-placed Hamilton-Wickham at Passmore Oval.
Toole said his team faced a formidable challenge.
“Hamilton-Wickham are very explosive with the bat,” he said.
“They’ve got a number of players who just blast away and peel off runs very quickly. They’re a good fielding team, and they’ve got some exceptional bowlers.
“It’s fair to say a lot of their guys are at the very peak of their playing powers.”
Toole said batting attitude was critical to his team’s chances.
“For us to win, we’re going to have to make a concerted effort with the bat, and make sure we bat our overs,” he said.
“It really is up to our batsmen to muscle up and show that resilience, and to bat time, and go deep into our innings.”
He said if that important half of the equation was delivered, he had confidence in what the team could produce with the ball.
The final-round win also confirmed Toronto’s second consecutive club championship.
“We’re absolutely chuffed to bits about winning the club championship,” Toole said. “We strive to be the best club in the competition, and winning the club championship is recognition that we’ve put in the hard yards and got our reward.”