Sport

Cobram Tigers

By Tyler Maher

Cobram has worked extremely hard to earn its spot in the Murray Valley Cricket Association’s premier division grand final.

The Tigers have been one of the form teams of the competition, but having defeated Barooga in the past two matches — and this weekend’s opponent Deniliquin in the fixture before that — captain Adam De Cicco feels his troops could not be more primed to perform well.

‘‘We said the other week that finishing off with a couple of really hard games would be good for us and it was,’’ De Cicco said.

‘‘So hopefully we can use that again this weekend.’’

Cobram Showgrounds will host the decider — which begins tomorrow at noon — and the home ground advantage is not lost on De Cicco, with his charges having enjoyed the comfort of familiarity last week as well.

‘‘It should be good for the boys,’’ he said.

‘‘It was a really big crowd last week and hopefully it will be again this weekend.’’

The Rhinos fell just seven runs short of knocking Cobram over in their round-11 clash, meaning this top-tier grand final could go right down to the wire as well.

‘‘It’s going to be a really close match, we’re both pretty strong with bat and ball,’’ De Cicco said.

‘‘We’ll win the toss and bat hopefully, but (if we don’t win it) we’re confident both ways.’’

South African slogger Wian Van Zyl looms as the key ingredient to a Cobram victory — even though he has only averaged 10 since Christmas — but the next generation of Tigers have been able to step up and lend a hand in the back-half of the season.

‘‘I’m really confident that Wian will get over his little slump,’’ De Cicco said.

‘‘The biggest (effort) has been from the youngest players, Lewis McShane keeping, Izac Artavilla and Tyron Baden (with the bat).

‘‘It’s hard to change a winning team, so we’ll go in the same this weekend.’’

James Daniel (4-48) and Van Zyl (3-14) were exceptional with ball in hand in the semi-final, with Baden (54 not out) and Manny Artavilla (54 from 147 deliveries) crucial with the bat in the four-wicket win against the Hawks.

Ewald Roberts (391 runs at 48.9 and 16 wickets at 12.9) has also been an all-round star for the Tigers, and will be important again this weekend.