DESPITE being hampered by a calf injury, Andrew Smith continues to inspire Eaglehawk team-mates in the run to the Bendigo District Cricket Association’s first XI grand final.
The Hawks’ gun all-rounder and previous BDCA Cricketer of the Year award winner was at his best in the weekend’s semi-final win against Bendigo United.
A hard-hitting 66 played a big part in the Borough passing the 200-run mark on BUCC’s turf at Harry Trott Oval in Kennington.
Smith then captured the first wicket late on day one and ended with 4-44 off 20 overs as the Borough won by 36 runs.
Eaglehawk coach David Rosaia said yesterday that Smith just kept on doing incredible things on the cricket field.
“He showed again what a game-breaker he can be,” Rosaia said.
The calf injury flared up more than a month ago, but it has not stopped Smith’s impact with bat or ball.
“He’s had treatment every second night, either at the club (with sports trainer Ron Poulter), or going to Lockington,” Rosaia said.
“The workload he’s had, either bowling or batting, has not eased up.
“Even on Sunday I was urging him to have a rest.
“He kept saying ‘just one more over’ and it ended up being 20.
“Smithy is one of the most determined characters I have met in cricket.
“He has been one of our best players all season, and he’s in his late 30s.
“There is no way he is going to miss playing in the grand final.”
The unbeaten Suns won the only meeting between the grand finalists by 14 runs at Eaglehawk in early November.
In his second year coaching at Eaglehawk, Rosaia said Smith and senior players such as captain Jason Abbott, Matt Fitt and Matt White had played key roles in the club’s resurgence after being dismissed for 78 on home turf in the 11th round by Strathfieldsaye.
“Every player knew it was a poor performance, but they stayed positive and have kept working hard,” Rosaia said.
The players ran seven laps around Lake Neangar the day after the 114-run loss to the Jets.
“Our younger players such as Cam McGlashan, Cory Jacobs and Richard Tibbett have learnt a lot from watching the way someone like Andrew Smith goes about preparing for and when he’s in a contest.”
Venues for the BDCA grand finals being played this Saturday and Sunday:
First XI at QEO, noon: Strathdale-Maristians v Eaglehawk.
Second XI at Dower Park, Kangaroo Flat, noon: Eaglehawk v Kangaroo Flat.
Third XI at Harry Trott Oval, Kennington, 10am: Eaglehawk v Strathdale-Maristians.
Under-17 at Atkins Street, North Bendigo, 8.45am: Golden Square v Kangaroo Flat.