Top players return as Illawarra seek respect

Key figure: University's Mitch Calder will bat in the top order for Illawarra in their home T20 double header on Sunday. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Key figure: University's Mitch Calder will bat in the top order for Illawarra in their home T20 double header on Sunday. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Illawarra have named their most experienced batting lineup as they seek to end a winless season in Sunday’s home double header at North Dalton Park in the Kingsgrove Sports T20 competition.

 Illawarra have recalled ex-Sydney grade batsmen Olly Thompson and David Murphy plus top Helensburgh brothers Hayden and Mitch McCrae in a 14-man squad to take on North Sydney (10am) and Manly Warringah (2.30pm).

 The squad was overhauled following last Sunday’s thrashing from Mosman and a first-up belting from Randwick Petersham in which both Sydney clubs posted 210-plus batting first.

South African international Johan Botha had an amazing debut for Mosman making 102no, plus 5/12 including a hat-trick first up against Sydney, then blasted an unbeaten 87 against Illawarra as Mosman smashed 2/219 in a 119-run win.

Illawarra skipper Tim Laws top-scored with 42 and said it was clear some of his side did not handle the occasion in facing a player of Botha’s class.

‘’I would probably describe it as being star-struck; seeing this big name guy like Botha destroy Sydney then we have to face him,’’ Laws said.

‘’We weren’t up to it as a team and a few of the guys looked out of their depth.

‘’After Mosman and Randwick (Petersham) something had to be done.

‘’Bringing in guys like Murf (David Murphy), Olly (Thompson) and the McCraes gives up a lot more batting experience and make us more competitive.

‘’I think we can win the North Sydney game first up and then we would take a lot of confidence against Manly. But basically we have to show a lot more fight in all aspects and we’ve picked a team to do that.’’

 Keira spinner Troy Coleman will make his Illawarra debut after taking 12 wickets in six games for the Lions this season.

  ‘’Troy has been doing well for Keira and he’s got the personality to handle taking on the Sydney clubs,’’ Laws said.

 Illawarra want home fans to support the side on Sunday and have named a strong squad for the double-header. They will have used 21 players in the four T20 games.

The rep side are desperate to finish the rep season with a win after three losses in the Country Championships, plus knocked out in the first round of the Regional Bash by Central Coast.

No Illawarra player was named in the NSW Country side for next month’s Australian Country Championship in Wollongong.

Meanwhile,  in day two of round six, Uni resume at 3/72 chasing Keira’s 253; Wests (174) are on track to upset Helensburgh  (6/41); Northern Districts are 2/68 set Wollongong’s 203; while leaders Dapto are 6/52 chasing Balgownie’s 239.

 Corrimal resume at 2/163 chasing an outright against Port Kembla who were bowled out for 128 on day one.

Ladder: Dapto 39, Helensburgh 29, Balgownie 22, Keira 22, Northern Districts 18, Corrimal 17, Wollongong 16, Uni 15, Port 13, Wests 13.

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