LINTON and Cory Jacobs are brothers and best mates, but that will be put aside this weekend when they face off against each other in the Bendigo District Cricket Association grand final.
Linton will captain two-time defending premiers Strathdale-Maristians, while younger brother Cory will line up for the Hawks in the season-decider at the QEO.
They have played against each other many times over the previous eight years – including a semi-final in 2010 – but this will be the brothers’ first grand final clash.
While the pair are relaxed about going head-to-head against each other in the biggest game of the season, it has been a nervous week for mum Denise and dad Gary since the Suns and Hawks won their semi-finals last Sunday.
“I have been asked all week who I want to win, but I can’t answer that... I want them both to win,” Denise said yesterday.
“It’s awful that you know one of them is going to lose a grand final. People have said it’s only a cricket game and the sun will come up the next day, but they want to win and you really want them to win.
“At the end of the game do you hug the person who has won first, or the person who has lost?
“As long as they both do well and don’t get each other out, that’s probably the best we can hope for.
“They are both very competitive, but they are good mates, and whatever happens this weekend, they will be good mates after it.”
As well as being brothers and best mates, Linton and Cory have also been housemates for the past three months. Not surprisingly, the usual topic of cricket at the dinner table has been avoided this week.
“It has been a bit different this week. We normally talk about other teams and how to get certain players out, but this week we don’t want to give too much away,” said Cory, who caught Linton when the Hawks and Suns previously met in round three.
“Considering the success both clubs have had over recent years, there was always a chance something like this would happen.
“It’s a bit of a mixed feeling... you want Lino to do well, but you want to win as well because of all the hard work that has gone into it.
“I suppose when you get out there on the weekend, he’s just another player, and with the Strathdale team, they’ve got 10 other blokes you’ve got to worry about.”
While Linton has won back-to-back premierships with the Suns last year and in 2011 – both as captain – all-rounder Cory won a flag as a 16-year-old with the Hawks in 2006.
“That was a while ago, so it would be awesome to get that feeling again,” Cory said.
Linton, in his 11th season at Strathdale after previously playing at Eaglehawk, will be treating Cory no different to any other Eaglehawk player when his brother comes out to bat or is bowling.
“We’re brothers and best mates, so it’s a bit of a funny feeling playing against each other this week, but when we get out there it will be just like playing against anyone else,” said Linton, who has had a superb season with 612 runs and 32 dismissals as wicket-keeper.
“I want to make sure we win, but I’m sure after the last ball is bowled on Sunday we’ll go in and have a beer together, regardless of whatever happens.
“He’s got me out a couple of times over the years, but hopefully, when I get out there this weekend I can bat for a period of time and he doesn’t snick me out.
“Come Sunday, we’ll be happy for each other whatever way the result goes... but fingers crossed it goes my way.”