David vs Goliath
Saturday, 4th March, 2017
By Tyler Hannigan
After four consecutive finals defeats, the Warriors are desperate to break the hoodoo in today’s B Grade grand final while South haven’t tasted B Grade success in 32 years.
Today will mark the Warriors fifth grand final appearance in a row when they take on South at the Zinc Oval and they’ll be hoping that fifth time’s the charm after four consecutive defeats.
The Warriors were on the receiving end of West B Grade’s three-peat before going down to un-fancied North in last season’s decider. They return to the big dance this year hoping to reverse their fortunes on the back of an impressive regular season where they finished top of the table.
Their big selection news is the omission of Broken Hill cricket great Bill Bergman who has been left out due to poor form over the season. Bergman may have retained his place if the final was taking place on the synthetic wicket at the Norm Fox but given it’s on turf at the Zinc, the Warriors have gone with other options.
“The toughest selection call I’ve ever had to make was to tell Bill that he wouldn’t be playing,” Warriors captain Chris West said.
“I still believe he’s one of the best batsmen in town on his day but he just hasn’t found the form throughout this season and we’ve got other players that haven’t played all year but their form warrants a spot in the side.
“I also believe we have a lineup that can bat all the way down to 11 and our bowling attack is second to none in the competition.”
South were clinical in dispatching an under-manned North last week and showed the sort of form expected from a grand final side. Simon O’Brien, Paul Nicholas and Ben Franklyn all notched 30s before Alex Page, Mitchell Henderson, Andrew Suckling, Josh Hands and O’Brien shared the wickets around to dismiss North for 71.
Out of last week’s team is youngster Jacob Pfitzner who is replaced by recently married man Jon Bishop. Bishop is likely to take the gloves, allowing Nathan Gageler to bowl if required.
South captain Franklyn said that he’s well aware of the Warriors’ capabilities but remains confident in the team that they’ve selected.
“We’ve definitely picked the best side we could but there were some unlucky players as there always is,” Franklyn said.
“I’m really proud of the boys’ hard work through the season and while it’s great to have come this far, it’ll be better if we get the win.
“The Warriors are a very good side but hopefully we can grind it out and come away on top.
“We’re confident in our ability believe that on our day we can beat anyone.”
A win today will break a 32-year drought between South B Grade premierships.
In their meetings this year, South were too good in round four, winning by 22 runs, while the Warriors returned the favour in round nine, thumping the Roos by 119 runs. Their final match was cancelled due to the extreme heat in round 14.
Teams: (in likely batting order)
Ash Bates- Strong striker of the ball and a very good bowler. Especially dangerous if the pitch keeps low with his skidding deliveries.
Anthony Berg- very capable batsmen that can play both sides of the wicket. Quick between the stumps too.
Chris West (c, wk)- patient with the bat and capable of batting for extended periods of time.
Anthony Tidball- crossed over from North mid-season and hasn’t looked back. Has scored a 50 while his bowling average of 3.9 is brilliant.
Ben Perkins- destructive batsmen who can turn a game on its head in a matter of overs and is a wicket taker with the ball.
Nathan McIntyre- booked his grand final spot with a hard-hitting 39 in their final game. Also adds depth to the batting and bowling.
Matt Ali- former South B Grade captain who switched to the Warriors this season. Capable all-rounder.
Mark Pitt- leg spin bowler who could be a handful if the pitch assists him while also a decent bat.
Phil Neal- good all-round cricketer who can contribute with both bat and ball.
Leigh Scoble- capable of batting anywhere in the order and adds depth to the lineup.
Shaun Kemp- Very good medium pace bowler who can be tricky to get away. Will be helped by the Zinc Oval pitch.
Simon O’Brien- big hitting all-rounder who can score very quickly while his bowling is lightning quick. Will be a big factor if South is to win.
Anoop Joy- likely to open, Joy scores quickly and has a 50 to his name this season while also being a very capable bowler.
Jon Bishop (wk)- missed last week due to his wedding, solid batsmen who others can bat around.
Paul Nicholas- classy batsmen who can score big and take full advantage of poor bowling. Back in form with a run-a-ball 38 last week.
Ben Franklyn (c)- played well last week to score 37 not out and will be looking for another captain’s knock today. Handy bowler if needed.
Andrew Suckling- big hitting batsmen who can bat anywhere in the order to suit the situation. Tall, quick bowler who can generate bounce from a good length.
Nathan Gageler- dangerous batsmen that only knows one way to play. Has shown he can score whether batting first or chasing.
Mitchell Henderson- strong striker down the ground and very handy bowler, took 3-5 from three overs to ice the game last weekend.
Alex Page- crafty medium pacer that will use all the assistance available from the pitch. Adds batting to the lower order.
Stephen Chestnut- adds valuable experience to the bowling line up and has improved his batting this season.
Josh Hands- improved bowler who can swing it in the air. Has taken four wickets for one run in his last two games to book his spot today.