Grand final history either way


Dane Ugle hits the winning runs. Picture: Perth Cricket Club
Dane Ugle hits the winning runs. Picture: Perth Cricket Club

One club is aiming for its first premiership in 25 years while the Mariners have a chance to claim their maiden first grade crown.

The Mariners are in unchartered territory having reached their first ever grand final, with the story of how they got there nothing short of remarkable.

After finishing second-bottom last year, the club rose 14 places to claim this year’s minor premiership with a largely unchanged squad.

They now find themselves one game away from the club’s first major success story, and they may not even have to break a sweat to get it: with rain forecast all weekend, in the case of a washout the Mariners would claim the premiership by virtue of finishing top.

Rockingham-Mandurah, established in 2000, has endured a lean Premier Cricket existence, with this being only its second finals campaign.

Club captain Craig Simmons has been there for most of the journey and knows how much of a watershed moment a grand final triumph would be.

“I think for the club it would be huge, we have had some pretty tough years in the last 15 or so since we have been in,” he said.

“I think we have been building over the past five years with some mixed results. It would be good to cap off a few blokes’ careers.”

Simmons credited the major turnaround of the club to the inclusion of some vital senior players.

“The fact Brendon Diamanti has been fit for the whole season has helped; last year he only bowled 30 overs for the year.

“I only played three games and Dane Ugle played five.

“When you put three senior players in and the development of a Mitch Green, it puts us in pretty good shape,” he said.

Rockingham-Mandurah’s semi-final win last weekend was one of its greatest performances in Premier Cricket history, seemingly gone at 5-141 in pursuit of Perth’s 2-353 declared.

Ugle produced an heroic 158 not out to lead the Mariners to an astonishing one-wicket win, with tailenders Kyle Gardiner (26) and Joel Marion (3 not out) both hanging around for more than an hour.

“It was huge,” Simmons said.

“In all my years of first grade cricket I have never seen anything like it.”

The final starts at 10.30am on Saturday at the WACA Ground.