Rockingham Mandurah Mariners make grand final

Rockingham Mandurah Mariners make grand final

ROCKINGHAM-Mandurah’s gritty 47-run preliminary final victory over Fremantle has put it in its second WA Premier Cricket Grand Final in four seasons.

The minor premier Mariners will meet Claremont-Nedlands at the WACA this Saturday and Sunday after captain Craig Simmons spearheaded another fine team performance at Lark Hill.

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Simmons won the toss and immediately chose to bat on a true and firm wicket that would stay that way over the whole weekend.

Rockingham-Mandur-ah’s batting unit made the decision a prudent one with their best output of the season, making 8-332 from 90 overs.

The first wicket gleaned 86 runs as Brandon Burt provided the acceleration ,with Tyler Robertson adding the starch.

Burt, promoted up the order to turn up the heat on the Port, flashed nine boundaries and a six in his 59 from 88 deliveries as Robertson occupied the crease for 178 minutes and produced 41.

Aaron Burrage made his first significant contribution of the grand final qualifier with 77, his third half-century of 2018-19. His 85- run stand with debutant Sam Day put the home side in a position to power home in the last hour of day 1 at 4-220.

Day, presented with his baggy maroon cap by 2016-17 Martin Baird medalist Shaune Guppy, backed in the faith shown in him by the Mariners’ brains trust by scoring 70 from 104 balls. His third half-century in four matches came with four boundaries, two sixes and the ability to find the gaps in the field.

Simmons’ typically blazing 56 from 41 deliveries with eight fours catapulted the score well over 300 and bought the Mariners’ bowlers a full day at the visitors’ batting.

WA captain Mitch Marsh and opening batsman Sam Whiteman came into Fremantle’s line-up for Sunday’s chase after the Warriors’ Sheffield Shield fate was sealed by NSW taking their place alongside Victoria in the final.

They threatened to take their club’s side to the final match of 2018-19 with a 122- run second-wicket union.

Marsh was stumped by Kane Standing off Simmons’ bowling for 53, with the Port boys at 2-154.

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Whiteman, who struck the winning runs for Rockingham-Mandurah in the grand final triumph over Fremantle in 2015-16, continued his fine post-|Big Bash League form in a renaissance as an opener making 116 for the visitors.

The left-hander’s dismissal by Burrage at 5-212, caught by Adam France (1-34), put time and run pressure on the batting and turned the game ever-slightly in the minor premier’s favour.

Burrage again highlighted his leadership qualities, with his tidy medium-|pacers netting 3-70 from 20 overs, underlining how important his fight with bat or ball will be against the Tigers in the big dance.

The skipper Simmons finished with 5-95 from 36 overs, his fourth five-wicket haul, taking him to 52 wickets on the season and seeing his side through to a date with the reigning champions. Claremont-Nedlands made their way through after belting Melville by eight wickets at Cresswell Park.

The Under-15s side won’t be a part of grand final weekend after just its second loss came at the wrong time of the season, going down to Gosnells by 22 runs at Lark Hill.

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The Hawks battled to 161 all out in the 59th over as Heinrich Helm (3-12) and Mitchell Oliver (2-39) were the multiple wicket-takers for the Mariners.

Oliver topped the scoring with 34 at the head of the order but when he was dismissed at 5-65, the chase looked in peril.

Cooper Blake (26) and Sam Costley (23) showed late-order resistance but it was game over after 57.2 overs on 139 all out.

Play in the first-grade grand final at the WACA Ground will begin at 11am on Saturday and Sunday as the Mariners chase their second flag.

The club will host a post-match function at Lark Hill and has invited all members and supporters.