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Bat and ball semi-finals arrive

Peter Johnston

Barrier District Cricket League slips into semi-finals mode this weekend with all games certain to be keenly fought.

In the Men’s A Grade semi at Alma Oval today, West take on Central in what promises to be a very intriguing contest.

Central has beaten West in their last two encounters, albeit by narrow margins, but last weekend West threw the finals series wide open by comprehensively beating top side North.

Availability of key players for both sides will have a large bearing on the outcome of this game.

Central is likely to welcome back Jarred Paull and David O’Mally but also likely to lose Rocky Ninovic to work commitments. Paull is a huge plus for Central batting and O’Mally brings much needed tightness to Central’s bowling.

Paull and Sheldon Hall hold the key to Central’s batting effort while Adam Rhodes has found good touch in the opening position over the past two weeks.

Laurence Hebbard and Peter Christos hold the key to West’s chances of taking early wickets, while Adam Perry has developed as a handy spin option for the Robins in the latter part of the season.

The Attard brothers and Max Everuss need to fire with the bat for West to advance to next week’s big dance. Chasing their third consecutive premiership, I think West may prove to be a little more experienced for the Central side who have been found wanting in their recent finals’ appearances.

In the B Grade semi-final to be played at Norm Fox today, West take on North. Last season’s premiers West don’t look quite as strong as in previous seasons but their professionalism and great finals’ record will take them a long way.

Jordan Meehan and Matt Adams will be key players with the bat for the Robins while Summers and Hocking will be handy contributors with the ball.

North has been a little up and down this season in this grade but should never be underestimated.

Scott Rogers and Anthony Tidball are key players with the bat for the North Bulldogs while Tidball and Victory bring a lot of experience with the ball.

West’s key players look to hold a few more aces than their counterparts and the Robins should advance to take on the Warriors in next week’s B Grade final.

The Women’s semi-final will be played on Friday night at Jubilee Oval under lights between last season’s premiers, South and Central.

Central has improved dramatically this season while South has had a similar season to last, only losing games to North.

The Roo girls will be hoping to fight off a determined Magpie outfit in this game and then again ambush the North girls in the big game next week.

Steph Wylie is a key player for the Roos with the bat while Lakisha Sloane and Kendra Bugmy also bear watching.

teph Wylie will also be a key player for the Roos with the ball and her fortunes on the night will have a large say in South’s fortunes.

Sasha Harrington and Ash Forbes are gun bats for the Magpies and will be prized wickets for the South bowlers.

Central’s bowling is not perhaps as strong as their opponents but Sasha Harrington will have a large say in the Central effort with the ball.

I expect last season’s experience in the big games to sway this contest in South’s favour. Central is certain to make this game a great spectacle but they may have to wait another season until they get an opportunity to have a crack at a premiership.

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