The Victorian Premier Cricket finals have arrived, after a season full of hurdles – it has come down to just four sides, all of which remain in the hunt for the ultimate prize across the two competitions.
Last weekend saw Carlton-Brunswick claim the Third XI title off Dandenong, as the Blues managed to defend its 6/126 in emphatic style, by bundling the Panthers out for just 36 in reply.
In the First XI, minor premiers Melbourne, will host Box Hill at the iconic Albert Ground.
While the Demons have finished strongly on top of the table after the home and away season, the Mustangs are no slouch when it comes to finals cricket, with experienced heads who have proved to get the job done on countless occasions when Box Hill need it most.
The two sides have done battle twice in season 2020/21, and the Demons have triumphed convincingly on both occasions.
The first clash, way back in November, Melbourne walked away with a 26 run victory. Rhiann O’Donnell collected 97.
The second time the Demons and Mustangs faced off was only a number of weeks ago in late February, where Melbourne won even more convincingly.
Unsurprisingly, O’Donnell was amongst the runs again with 48. Her battle early on with Dani Montague and Zoe Griffiths is definitely going to be one to keep an eye on over the course of this match.
In the corresponding match, Dandenong will travel to Essendon Maribrynong Park as second take on third for the remaining spot in the final match of the year.
Dandenong haven’t stormed into finals in the greatest of form, losing three of its last four matches, including its clash with the Bombers. However, its last win did come against ladder leaders Melbourne.
When the Panthers faced the Bombers just over a month ago, the Panthers were dealt a heavy defeat.
But in that match, the Dandenong side were without strike bowler Emma Gallagher who has collected 20 wickets this season, and Bombers super star Elyse Villani produced another golden innings of 72 not out from 66 balls.
Both matches commence this Sunday at 10:30am.
Meanwhile in the Second XI, Dandenong, Melbourne and Box Hill will feature again in the semi-finals, with Ringwood rounding out the final four sides.
The Demons finished 13-points clear of second placed Box Hill after the home and away season, producing a clinical 14 rounds of cricket.
The Dees are the red hot favourites coming into it semi-final with Dandenong, but finals can harvest some fascinating outcomes.
The Panthers have stormed into the final four with two big wins over Prahran and Carlton-Brunswick.
In both wins the Panthers posted totals of 228 and 270, but will need another similar score if it is to knock the Demons off.
This match looms as a ‘battle of the bats’, with the top five leading run-scorers in the competition to date all set to feature in this game.
Box Hill City Oval will play host to the Mustangs and their opposition, Ringwood on Sunday in the battle of second v third.
Ringwood secured an 108 run victory in the final round, which boosted its percentage 0.03 above Dandenong and into third position on the ladder.
The Rams and the Mustangs haven’t played each other since Round 4, where the Mustangs snuck home with a two wicket win.
Mustangs bowler Jasmine Gouldson leads the competition for wickets this season, if the Rams are to win Sundays encounter, keeping Gouldson wicket-less would go a long way in doing so.
Written by Tyler Lewis