Centurions out to boost title claims

Josh Anderson, James Boyland and Mudassar Bukhari.
Josh Anderson, James Boyland and Mudassar Bukhari.

But it’s one that comes with the pressure of expectation heading into a finals series.

Joondalup’s ability to handle that pressure will be tested when it faces plucky underdog Gosnells in the WACA first grade elimination final at Iluka this Saturday and Sunday.

The Centurions will be wary of the fact the sixth-finishing Hawks have nothing to lose.

They can already consider their season a success having made the finals for the first time in 21 years.

All that lies before them is a bonus.

But for Joondalup, which dominated in 2014-15, an early exit would equal a failed season.

The sides have not played each other since round three, Joondalup winning the one-day match by three wickets with 25 overs to spare.

The Centurions face a Gosnells side full of confidence this time round, however.

The Hawks finished the season with four straight wins, two of which were outright.

Joondalup heads into the finals in interesting circumstances, having lost the last-round match of the season to Claremont-Nedlands, but then defeating the same side in the one-day final the next day.

Before their loss last Saturday, the Centurions had not been defeated in six rounds.

They will be buoyed by the recent form of talented teenage batsmen Jaron Morgan, Clint Hinchliffe and Josh Inglis. Inglis and Hinchliffe have both made centuries in recent weeks, while Morgan top scored with 71 in the one-day final on Sunday.

Dutch bowling all-rounder Mudassar Bukhari has returned, adding heat to the pace attack in support of veterans Josh Anderson and James Boyland, who are in terrific touch with the ball.

The form guide would suggest Joondalup couldn’t possibly lose this match, but for Gosnells, a famous boilover beckons.