After six seasons in the finals wilderness,
South Perth have finally reached WA’s Premier Cricket top six. Only time will
tell what sort of impact the Sky Blues can have on the remainder of the
campaign, however that winning feeling has returned to Richardson Park.
The last time seven-time premiers South
Perth made the semi-finals was back in 2011 and only Hugh Brown and Hilton Cartwright remains from
that side, with fresh faces – many from the title-winning 2012-13 Colts side -
and a new coach reinvigorating the club who finished last in 2015-16.
Trent Ovens is another Sky Blues veteran
and the top-order batsman believes more experience and some key inclusions have
been the catalyst behind the meteoric rise.
"I think we have just had some growth from
our younger players,” Ovens says. "Darius D’Silva, Sam Birchall and Simon
Ringrose have just got a year older and a year better.
"We have managed to add a couple of players
in the off season, like our overseas Rob Jones from England, who has been
fantastic along with Michael Bailey from Gosnells.
"Probably a real culmination of growth and
Brett Mulder as coach is the other major
change to the set-up, with the former state cricketer taking a different
approach to previous mentors at South Perth.
"He (Mulder) brings a level of intensity to
training and really makes us focus on fielding,” Ovens explains.
"Come game day though, he just lets us get
on with playing. His experience in the game is invaluable.”
For Ovens it will be his first finals
appearance for the Sky Blues, with the older players looking forward to the
challenge of finals cricket after several years of disappointment.
"It’s extremely exciting,” Ovens describes.
"I have played in a lot of teams who have finished down the bottom over the
years, so it will be good to get out there and play at the pointy end of the
"It’s great for the club and great for the
older guys like me and Hugh Brown, it has been a while since we have played
With a lack of finals experience, South
Perth will have their backs against the wall against quality opposition, with
Ovens believing there is plenty to gain for everyone involved.
"The best thing for the young guys if we
play the likes of Claremont, Freo or Joondalup is to just watch their class
players down the lists,” Ovens says.
"Just to watch them play and experience
playing in those games against those players, you can only learn from that.”
Despite the obvious difficulty that comes
with finishing in the lower half of the top six, the Sky Blues believe they can
have an impact, much like Fremantle, who made the Grand Final from sixth last
"We wouldn’t rock up if we didn’t think we
could win,” Ovens claims.
"It’s 11 against 11 and anything can
"We will give it our best.”-Elliot Raiter