Sharks and Magpies set to square-off in TDCA decider

All on the line: Ex Students will play Glengarry for the TDCA premiership. photographs supplied


THE TDCA A Grade grand final is set to be one for the ages, with the two best teams taking part in what should be an entertaining fixture right from ball one.
After a five-wicket win over Toongabbie last week, Glengarry will come into this final brimming with confidence as they also have the luxury of a home ground advantage.
Glengarry has been in fantastic form since Round 9 when they capitulated against Ex Students after cruising to victory chasing 190 and being 4/116 only to lose their last six wickets for just 30 runs.
Since then the Magpies have had huge wins, beating Rovers by nine wickets in just 24 overs,
making 4/199 against Toongabbie, 5/222 against Gormandale and a whopping 5/258 against Yarram & District before finals, indicating the top order is in great touch.
The Magpies have a potent top five but also a hard hitting middle to lower order as well, all capable of big runs and with Al Jenkin, Nat Freitag and Frank Marks all having superb seasons they will be eyeing off a huge score come grand final day.
Key man: Glengarry star Nat Freitag will be looking to go big in the decider.
Ex Students had last weekend off after winning the qualifying final a fortnight ago to secure a
grand final berth.
The Sharks are in a completely different boat compared to Glengarry, where their last few innings haven’t seen too much come their way.
The last game they played was a 20-over-a-side match, their round 14 fixture had them nearly lose to Gormandale chasing 55 and only batting for 16 overs and they took on Imps the week before that and only needed 24 overs to chase down that total which means the Sharks have batted a total of 59.3 overs in the last four weeks so they could be very much underdone.
With the Glengarry wicket being in tremendous condition all season it won’t be an issue at all this weekend and with star studded batting line-ups in both camps it will be the bowlers who win the game for their side.
Ex Students has the better one-day attack with three champion spinners in their team.
Lee Stockdale, James Pryde and Michael Warne continue to be a troublesome three headed monster for every team they take on and were the reason for Glengarry’s downfall in Round 9 so the blueprint has already been shown and most likely will be used again.
Add in the evergreen Andy Matthews, swing bowler Kade Duncan, miserly medium pacer Jack Robertson and the death bowling specialist Mitch Harrison and it’s a bowling attack that will at the very least restrict Glengarry’s free scoring ability.
Compare that to Glengarry’s attack and it seems to be where the Sharks may have the edge as the Magpies only have the one frontline spinner in Jenkin with medium to fast bowlers making up the rest of the attack.
Where it’ll be won: Early wickets will be crucial as all season the bulk of every teams’ runs has been made against the new ball. For Glengarry, Jenkin and Freitag are the big wickets early while dismissing Stockdale up top for Ex Students will be huge. The middle overs may be the difference in this match with Ex Students specialist middle over bats Rick Battista and Mitch Harris still able to score against the older ball whereas Glengarry will have to fight tooth-and-nail for every run against the Sharks tight lines and excellent field placings.
The match-up: Captains Lee Stockdale (Ex Students) and Nathan Freitag (Glengarry) will be the key match-up. They are both big game players who rise to the occasion and will have a massive influence on the match. Whichever player has the better game is almost a certainty to walk away as a winning captain.
Prediction: Will Ex Students be underdone or primed and hungry for the contest? Will Glengarry let the pressure get to them and the top order fail for the first time this season? It’s hard to say but on paper Glengarry should be favourite. They have everything going right for them in this final including the home ground advantage but Ex Students are just a magnificent limited overs side and could easily walk away with the win. The reigning premier will go back-to-back this season but it’ll be a final over thriller that won’t disappoint. Glengarry to win.
GLENGARRY won through to the Traralgon and District Cricket Association grand final
following victory over Toongabbie in the preliminary final.
Toongabbie won the toss and batted on a beautiful looking Fred King Oval.
It started shakily though as openers Michael Dunn (1) and Tom Shippen (8) were both out with the score on 16.
Rob Wheildon then fell for three and the Rams were up against it as Cam Graham was bowling superbly, taking the first three wickets of the match.
A change in bowlers then kept the wickets tumbling as Tim Dunn was caught behind of
Nathan Freitag and James Chalmers got out to Hamish Busk with the score 5/38.
Jason Veneman at this stage was doing what he does best and holding up an end while still being able to rotate the strike. Veneman was joined by Kev Stoddart and the two batsmen were able to fight back, putting on a partnership of 50 before Stoddart tried taking on Al Jenkin and lost.
Zak Russell didn’t trouble the scorers and Jason Veneman was finally out for a determined 43 from 112 balls which had the Magpie players starting to think about batting and what they needed to do to get this game won and done.
With the score on 99 number 11 batsman Sam Moran joined number 10 Matt Whitechurch and the pair was able to push the Glengarry bowlers and make a partnership of 33 for the last wicket.
This partnership brought the score up to 132 which would give the Toongabbie bowlers at least something to bowl at and hopefully keep them in the game.
Glengarry’s attack has been good all season, but the star for the Magpies was Graham who
deservedly finished the innings with figures of 5/21 from 8.5 overs while the next best was Jenkin with 3/27.
Glengarry knew that the new ball would be key to Toongabbie’s chances of an upset and the in-form Jenkin would want a good hit on the wicket that the grand final will be played on this week.
However, his removal to the bowling of Shippen with the score on 18 may have had some nerves jittering in the sheds.
A dropped catch off Frank Marks didn’t help proceedings and with Freitag walking in at three
it wasn’t until the score was on 70 that Marks would eventually depart for 39 which included
two big sixes.
Sam Marks then joined Freitag as the two put on another 40 before Freitag fell just two runs short of raising his bat for 50 and although Marks followed 10 runs later with Hamish Busk in quick succession the damage had been done and it left superstar bat Paul Henry and the bouncers friend Chris Dunn to get the team home five down in the 36th over.
Young gun Matt Barry was the best bowler for the Rams, taking two wickets, but it was a classy display by the home team who will go into the grand final confident.