Premier Cricket Elimination Finals Preview
10 March 2017  

The Elimination Finals of the Alcohol.Think Again Premier Cricket season take place this weekend, with the six best sides of the year battling it out to progress through to the Semi-Finals.

Cresswell Park, Fletcher Park and Stevens Reserve will host all fixtures, with the bottom two ranked sides to lose being eliminated from the competition.

Claremont-Nedlands start as raging Premiership favourites after securing the One-Day flag last week, while South Perth and Subiaco Floreat will look to cause upsets this weekend.

Many stars are out of the exciting fixtures, with Sheffield Shield in Alice Springs limiting many WA players availability.

Home ground advantage may prove vital, with the higher placed sides only needing a draw to move forward in the competition.

All fixtures begin at 10.30am and continue across both Saturday and Sunday.

Claremont-Nedlands (1st, W,L,W,W,W) v South Perth (6th,L,W,W,W,W) at Cresswell Park

Umpires: T Rann-W Barron.

CN: Chris Brabazon (c), Travis Birt, Daniel Turkich, Jack Cattrall, Jacob Whiteaker, Nicholas Hobson, Haydan Morton, Tim David, Keagan Africa, Matthew Kelly, Bradley Hope.

SP: Hilton Cartwright (c), Trent Ovens, Brandon Guest, Michael Bailey, Darius D'Silva, Hugh Brown, Nicholas Mitchell, Sam Birchall, Alex Bevilaqua, Rex Strickland, Simon Ringrose, Cameron Huckett.

Claremont-Nedlands begin their finals campaign as outright Premiership favourites, with a battle against South Perth at Cresswell Park the first hurdle for the Tigers.

The home side is largely unchanged from their winning One-Day Final last weekend, with Joel Paris dropping out of the side and Keagan Africa coming back in.

Travis Birt was at his damaging best last weekend and will again prove crucial at the top of the order, while quicks Matt Kelly and Jack Cattrall will hope to continue their standout seasons.

Tim David sits alone at the top of the run scoring charts for this season, with his dangerous stroke play and power hitting a worrying sign for the Sky Blue bowlers.

South Perth has named a strong squad to tackle the Minor Premiers, with Trent Ovens and Hugh Brown returning to the lineup after a week of rest.

Cam Huckett has been brilliant with the ball in the past month, while Sam Birchall and Alex Bevilaqua pose a constant threat.

Michael Bailey scored 71 against the Tigers last weekend and will want to emulate that feat, with Hilton Cartwright missing due to Sheffield Shield duty in Alice Springs. 

Fremantle (2nd, D, L,W,W,L) v Subiaco Floreat (5th,W,W,W,L,W) at Stevens Reserve West

Umpires: T Steenholdt-J Hewitt

FR: Christopher Wood (c), Jake Carder, Anthony Collova, Chris Chellew, Jhye Richardson, Brayden Sutton, Matthew Micale, Jarryd McPhee, Joel Crosswell, Jamie Heath, Ross Macauley, Benjamin Moore, Chris Davenport, Daniel Kennedy.

SF: Christopher Hansberry (c), Alexander Malcolm, Calum How, Anthony Murphy, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Geremy Fatouros, Aaron Lilly, Andrew Holder, Ashley Blake, James Sansalone, Tim Monteleone.

Fremantle face Subiaco Floreat in a danger matchup at Stevens Reserve, with the visitors full of confidence after a late season surge into the top six.

The Port Boys still look an ominous side on paper, with an extended squad named for the crucial fixture.

Jhye Richardson will play after being released from the 12-man squad for the state side in a huge boost for Freo, while Jake Carder and Chris Wood will take up responsibility with bat in hand.

Veterans Jamie Heath, Brayden Sutton and Joel Crosswell bring a wealth of finals experience, which could prove invaluable over the weekend, with Sutton claiming the two-day flag with Rockingham-Mandurah last season.

The loss of Tom Abell is disappointing for Fremantle, however the side made it all the way to the final last season without their English star, after he once again left back home for Somerset.

Subiaco Floreat are a threat going into this finals season, with plenty of weapons at their disposal to cause major upsets throughout the next month.

Andrew Holder has been outstanding this season with 41 wickets and will be looking to strike with the new ball, with Ash Blake coming off three scalps last weekend.

The departing Alex Malcolm and Anthony Murphy provide stability and experience at the top of the order, while Calum How continues to show why he is so highly rated within the WACA community.

Cameron Green will still be missing with a knee issue, as Nathan Coulter-Nile continues to return from a long-term lay off.

If the Subi veterans can perform, this game may well go down to the wire.

Perth (3rd D,W,L,W,W) v Joondalup (4th W,L,D,W,L at Fletcher Park East

Umpires: N Johnstone-H Botes.

PE: Luke Jury (c), Jacob Snadden, Tom Casey, Dain Moreton, Sean Roberts, Josh Nicholas, Benjamin Mike, Jacob Van Galen, Dean Nelson, Aidan Enright, Liam Guthrie.

JO: Michael Swart (c), Jaron Morgan, Clinton Hinchliffe, Garrick Morgan, James Boyland, Thomas Russell, Josh Inglis, Jed Standring, Josh Anderson, Michael Johnson, Simon Branston, Ty Hopes.

Joondalup and Perth look set to play out the match of the round, with both sides maintaining consistent years as they hunt a Premiership for season 2017.

Fletcher Park will host the contest, with the Centurions naming a strong squad to take on the Demons.

Michael Swart could be a finals wildcard after a quiet month, with Josh Inglis missing with WA duty after a century last weekend.

Clint Hinchliffe and Garrick Morgan will lead at the top of the Joondalup batting lineup, while James Boyland will use all of his experience to take wickets with the new ball.

Ty Hopes and Simon Branston have played plenty of finals themselves and will push for success, while Josh Anderson and Michael Johnson give stability to the squad.

Perth will be missing key batsman Jonathan Wells for the fixture as he represents his state, with Josh Nicholas again vital with the ball.

Dain Moreton and Jacob Van Galen have excelled this season and taken on extra responsibility; with their Perth side now needing both take their games to a new level in this finals series.

Luke Jury will be the experienced campaigner in the side, with youngster Liam Guthrie and Dean Nelson having strong seasons themselves.

Both sides will be desperate for a victory this weekend, with defeat for either seeing them exit, should one of the fifth or sixth ranked teams triumph.

-Elliot Raiter