The Timbercutters haven't won a Deniliquin District Cricket Association flag in 22 years, while Jerilderie will play in its first ever DDCA grand final this weekend.
The Deniliquin District Cricket Association’s A grade competition comes to a head this weekend when a reformed Mathoura take on giant-killers Jerilderie in a grand final showdown that no one would have predicted.
The match is being played over Saturday and Sunday at Memorial Park, in Deniliquin, and will continue next Saturday if a third day is needed.
Mathoura, which finished second on the ladder, is playing for its first premiership since 1990-91, while Jerilderie, which only has three players older than 21, has never played in a two-day grand final since joining the DDCA in 2004-05.
The Timbercutters sent out a strong message when they defeated one-day heavyweights Hay in the first 40-over game of the year.
After that, the Cutters joined RSL/West in the competition’s upper echelon to be one of the teams to beat, dropping just three matches for the season.
Almost at the other end of the scale is Jerilderie, which only won three games during the home-and-away season, two of which were against winless Juniors Combine.
The third win, however, was a first innings upset over Mathoura in round eight, and that game, along with last weekend’s semi final win against the Cannons, will give the young Demons great confidence ahead of the grand final.
‘‘The kids at training this week were pretty confident we can back it up,’’ young Jerilderie skipper Lachlan Taylor-Nugent said.
‘‘We don’t have any real game plan or anything but we’ll stick to the side we used in the semi final.’’
Veteran right-hander Alistair Wells opens the batting for the Demons alongside rock solid teenager Joel Bryce.
Chris Lockhart and the skipper are usually the next two in.
Lockhart is a left-hander who has found form in his last two innings, while Taylor-Nugent has posted 287 runs for the year, with an average of 41 — the best in the competition.
The middle order includes young guns James Gregory, Blair Henery and wicket-keeper Lachie Leeds.
Lachlan Westwood, Daniel Bryce, Dylan Henery and Rowan Smith make up the tail end.
They will be up against the disheartening bowling attack of Brodie Unwin, Jesse Mitchelhill, Scott Vesty and Dan Tayles.
Blistering seam bowler Unwin put to rest any doubts that he is the best bowler in the competition last week, capturing an amazing 9-19 in one innings.
He has taken 38 wickets for the season and will be the Cutters’ key player this weekend.
Other main wicket takers for Mathoura include skipper Scott Vesty, Dan Tayles and veteran slow bowler Anthony Hogg.
Tayles has been economic in taking 16 wickets for the year, while Hogg returned to the field two weeks ago and has claimed 4-25, 1-2 and 5-8 in three innings.
The Timbercutters rely heavily on these bowlers with Unwin, Vesty and Tayles the only players in the competition to have bowled more than 100 overs for the season.
‘‘Bowling has been our main strength and Brodie’s second half of the season has been fantastic,’’ Vesty said.
‘‘We won’t be trying anything new this weekend. We’ve stuck to the same game plan all season.
‘‘Last weekend showed that finals are a funny thing and we’re just going to keep the pressure on.
‘‘I’ve played in a few grand finals and the team that keeps the pressure on always wins. It’s going to be a really good game.’’
Opening the batting for Mathoura will be Brendan Unwin and Tayles.
Having compiled 343 runs for the season, Unwin has been more successful than any other batsman in the association and boasts a high score of 83.
In seven of his 14 innings, Unwin has made more than 30 runs — a top effort considering wickets are generally low scoring in the DDCA.
Showcasing his allround ability, Brodie Unwin comes in at No.3. He is followed by the in-form Darrel Holgate, who has made an impressive 206 runs in his last seven outings at an average of 34.33.
Youngster Dylan Taylor, Beau Duggan-Hulands, Trent Starkey and Vesty hold down the middle order, while Dan Gretgrix, Zac Vesty and Hogg will offer the last bit of fight in the line-up.
Using the new ball for Jerilderie will be Dylan Henery and Taylor-Nugent.
Henery has taken plenty of big-name scalps this season, while Taylor-Nugent has bowled at representative level.
First change bowler Blair Henery has a knack of breaking partnerships, while 42-year old spinner Wells is always dangerous to opposition teams in tight situations.
The Demons have also called on Daniel Bryce and Westwood for success with the ball throughout the season.
Westwood’s medium-pace swing returned 2-8 against Mathoura in round six.
Despite the difference in win-loss ratios, this game will be an interesting and entertaining grand final.
Both sides generally fit in two innings in their two-day games, and DDCA president Ted Nugent expects the decider to be sewn up by 6pm on Sunday.
‘‘It will be a high standard of cricket, but if a team makes 180 (in the first innings) they’ll win it,’’ Nugent said.
‘‘There will be a lot of wickets taken. If the game goes past Sunday afternoon I’ll be very surprised.’’
Saturday’s play is from 12.30pm to 5.30pm. Sunday’s play will start at 10.30am.
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