Newcastle Steel coach Shane Burley says the city’s best cricketers have moved beyond merely trying to prove themselves to their Sydney counterparts and are now out to reach the NSW Premier Twenty20 Cup final.
Newcastle made the top four of their 12-team conference last season for the first time but lost in the first round of the play-offs to Randwick-Petersham.
This year they face an uphill battle to make it that far after a narrow defeat to Sydney Cricket Club in the first round. They host Gordon (10am) and North Sydney (2.30pm) in a double-header at No.1 Sportsground on Sunday with no margin for error before their final match away to St George on December 4.
“You’ve got to win three out of four,” Burley said. “Win both of these two and then our last we should get through. There is a possibility you can win two and with the quotient still get through, but we’d like to go undefeated from here.
“We played really well in that first game against Sydney and got pretty close. We’re keen to knock a couple of these sides over now.
“I guess when we first came into the comp four years ago it was our goal to show that we belong, but I think we’ve probably moved past that now.
“We generally want to give it a shake now. Our goal this year is to progress a bit further and make it to the SCG.”
Burley has picked a squad of 14 but said the same XI were likely to play in both games on Sunday. All three sides lost in the opening round, and North Sydney are out of contention after losing a second game to St George.
Newcastle will be keen to atone after they were denied a chance to defend their NSW Country crown when a storm ruined their campaign in Narrabri a fortnight ago.
Meanwhile, Merewether will try to keep Newcastle’s interest in the Country Cup knockout alive when they play Terrigal in round three at Townson Oval on Sunday.