by callum dick
WESTERN Suburbs star batsman Brian May believes all the pressure is on hosts Laidley, when the two sides meet tomorrow for the inter-city Harding-Madsen Shield grand final.
The Country Cricket Hall of Fame inductee said Laidley "should be favourites” having gone through the one-day competition undefeated.
Laidley and Wests opened their Harding-Madsen Shield campaigns against each other way back in October, where Laidley caused something of a boilover in an eight-wicket win at Wests' Heritage Oval home.
Jason Cubit was the star man for Laidley that day, making 100 not out alongside the ever-reliable Michael Sippel (29*).
"They played too good on the day for us really,” May said of the visiting Laidley side. "We didn't have any excuses, we didn't play well.”
May was the key wicket for Laidley in the opener; Sippel trapping the Wests veteran lbw for just one run.
That was one of only two times May would score less than 49 runs for the remainder of the regular season, with high scores of 105 and 120.
May and Sippel rank one and two in runs scored this season, and it would be easy to say whoever performs best on Sunday will lead their team to victory.
But May said the visitors would not focus on the wicket of Sippel, lest the likes of Cubit or Ben O'Connell take the game away from them.
"We'll just be worrying about doing our own job and doing that well,” May said. "If you focus solely on just one particular person, someone else will turn around and get the runs.”
May put Wests' balance in favour of their vaunted bowling attack, but doubled down on the strong performances with the bat this season as reason to be confident irrespective of how the Baxter Oval wicket plays.
In a big blow, the visitors will be without the competition's second-leading wicket-taker Shaun McCarthy.
With 16 scalps to his name and one of just three bowlers to record a five-wicket hall this season, McCarthy's absence will be felt.
"Shaun is away with the Queensland Country team which is unfortunate,” May said. "But someone else will get a chance to play, put in a good performance and potentially be a match winner.
"He's our opening bowler and a key bowler for us. It's disappointing he can't play, since he's played all season for us and it's not often you get to play in a final.”