SHOALHAVEN will be out to end their 10-year Creighton Cup drought this weekend when they take on Illawarra in the semi-final of the 2020-21 competition.
The side, which will be skippered by North Nowra-Cambewarra's Justin Weller, will take on the defending premiers, of the competition formerly known as Burns Cup, at Hayden Drexel Oval from 10am on Saturday.
"Illawarra are always tough and this year is no exception as they have named a strong side, led by James Fleming and featuring Rhys Voysey - who both played in the Greater Illawarra Zone team last year," Weller, who's side last won the trophy back in 2010 by defeating South Coast at Oak Flats, said.
"As such, we will need to be excellent in sticking to our plans.
"With the bat, it's important we keep rotating the strike, as we can't afford their bowlers to keep bowling at one batsman.
"They have a quality bowling line-up, so hopefully we can rotate the strike and put the pressure back onto them.
"Then with the ball, we have to stick to the corridor of off stump.
"With the quick outfield at Hayden Drexel Oval and the quality of the batsmen Illawarra have, they will punish anything wide or down leg."
The winner of this fixture will play battle the victor of Saturday's other semi-final between South Coast and Highlands on Sunday at Figtree Oval - with these fixtures acting as the key selection trial for November's Country Championships.
"It's been a few years since Shoalhaven was in the final, so that's my goal this year," Weller said.
"I want to get Shoalhaven cricket back where it was in the past.
"The last couple of seasons, Shoalhaven cricket has slowing been going down in quality numbers, so producing strong performances on the field will hopefully encourage more to be involved in the future."
Weller will be joined in the side by fellow Norths talents Hyeon Parsons, Alex Baccarini, Jack Walsh and Matt Hickmott as well as Berry-Shoalhaven Heads' Daniel Troy, Jarrod Mitchell, Dale Lovatt, Dylan Cosgrove and Jacob Temple, Shoalhaven Ex-Servicemens' Luke Jones, Bomaderry's Luke Jurancic and Batemans Bay's Darcy Knight.
"We have assembled a strong batting line-up," Weller, who is playing in his ninth Creighton Cup campaign, said.
"With the likes of Hyeon Parsons, Dylan Cosgrove, Daniel Troy, Jack Walsh and Jarrod Mitchell in the squad, we possess plenty of strike power throughout the whole innings.
"A lot of their experience will be invaluable to the youngsters in our side, who I have complete confidence will shine this weekend.
"The likes of Alex Baccarini, Hyeon Parsons, Luke Jones and Jack Walsh are all stepping up from the under 18s representative side and in my eyes, are the future of Shoalhaven cricket.
"They all have excellent skill sets and are keen to step up to the next level and test themselves against the top players in the Greater Illawarra."