Premier Cricket Preliminary Finals Preview
17 March 2017  

A western suburbs derby and a clash of finals experience highlight the two Preliminary Finals of the Alcohol.Think Again Premier Cricket season, with all four sides desperate for a chance at the premiership next weekend.

Claremont-Nedlands and Subiaco Floreat clash in a hotly anticipated contest at Cresswell Park, with the competition’s best bowler Andrew Holder and leading batsman Tim David to face off against each other.

Joondalup and Fremantle are successful finals sides, with both teams eager to add another flag to their cabinet this season.

Cresswell Park and Stevens Reserve will host the fixtures starting at 10.30am, with both winners to face off in the final next weekend at the WACA Ground.

Claremont-Nedlands (1st, D,W,L,W,W) v Subiaco Floreat (5th,W,W,W,W,L) at Cresswell Park:

Umpires: N Johnstone-J Hewitt.

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

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.

Claremont-Nedlands will begin favourites in their clash against Subiaco Floreat at Cresswell Park, but both sides enter the fixture in terrific form with a grand final beckoning.

The Tigers, who lost the 2013-14 Grand Final in a thriller to Wanneroo, haven't lifted the First Grade crown in 11 years, while Subi's last flag was six years ago in 2010-11.

Tim David and Nick Hobson were the in-form batsmen last weekend and will look to take advantage of the home fixture, with a draw good enough to put the Tigers into the last weekend of the season.

Joel Paris is named to return again for the home side, with Brad Hope returning to school cricket for the weekend, with the squad otherwise unchanged.

Matt Kelly and Keagan Africa will lead the attack with ball in hand, while spinners Haydan Morton and Dan Turkich will prove difficult for the Subi batsman to get away.

Subiaco Floreat remain unchanged for the semi-final, with Andrew Holder the player to watch after runs and wickets last weekend, as the fast-bowler approaches 50 wickets for the season.

Nathan Coulter-Nile and Calum How pose a powerful threat in the middle order, with veterans Chris Hansberry and the departing Alex Malcolm leading from the front with plenty of finals experience.

Tim Monteleone will play his 150th first-grade game in an added motivation for his side to push through to their first two-day final since 2012.

Fremantle (2nd, L,D, L,W,W) v Joondalup (4th W,W,L,D,W) at Stevens Reserve West:

Umpires: T Rann-T Steenholdt.

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

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

Joondalup and Fremantle will face off in the other Preliminary Final at Stevens Reserve, with the Centurions looking strong at the right time of the season after a dominant victory last weekend.

Fremantle are coming off a disappointing loss against Subiaco Floreat last weekend, however have shown all year that they can bounce back, with quality finals experience the key to the contest.

The Port Boys reached the decider last year, losing to Rockingham-Mandurah and are looking to end their 26-year First Grade premiership wait, although they've already claimed the Premier T20 and Statewide T20 titles this campaign.

Brayden Sutton, Jamie Heath and Chris Wood will all bring valuable finals experience to the Fremantle lineup, with youngster Jarryd McPhee a constant danger with the ball.

Jhye Richardson will lead the attack after being left out of the state squad for the week, with Jake Carder carrying the burden of runs after getting a start last weekend before getting out in a side without top scorer Tom Abell and Ashton Turner.

Meanwhile, Joondalup have won two of the past four First Grade premierships. A winning mentality is driving Joondalup with the successful side pushing for yet another final in Premier Cricket, with their side unchanged for last weekend’s win over Perth.

Simon Branston was at his damaging best against the Demons and will look to cause havoc with the new ball, while Ty Hopes and James Boyland will bring experience to the bowling lineup.

Jaron and Garrick Morgan will want runs at the top of the order, with Clint Hinchliffe continuing his consistent year in the middle order. Josh Inglis is absent due to WA duty.

Look for this to be an extremely tight contest with both sides chasing success after finals disappointment last season.

-Elliot Raiter