Having recently competed for the Tom Veivers Cup — resulting in a three-peat of T20 titles for the Gators — Wests will be eager to make amends and hopefully go one better than last season which saw them lose to University of QLD in the one-day final.
Since Sandgate-Redcliffe completed their hat-trick of T20 trophies, both sides have recorded victories in the two-day competition and produced strong performances in their Limited Overs semi-finals.
Fringe Queensland Bulls batsman Sam Truloff has continued his stellar summer in the semi-finals, scoring his third century against the Sunshine Coast in a clinical 135-run knock. Throughout the year he has been well supported by the likes of Chris Sabburg (822 runs at 41.10) and Steve Paulsen (470 runs @ 39.17) who combine for a well-rounded batting lineup. With the ball, the collective efforts of the Wests bowling attack have been remarkable, as they have regularly contributed evenly to pose a threat from both ends of the pitch. In their semi-final win no bowler went wicketless against the Scorchers and their five leading wicket-takers have all taken more than 19 wickets this year – Paddy Dooley (32), Blake Edwards (27), Ryan Tazelaar (27), Steve Paulsen (26) and Chris Sabburg (19).
As has been the case with their season, Sandgate have showed little fear throwing caution to the wind and this trend continued in their semi-final against University. Chasing 210 for a spot in the final, the Gators got off to a flying start through openers Matt Dolan (63) and Bryce Street (50) who put on 107 for the first wicket. Despite some quick wickets from the Students in the middle of the chase, in-form batter and player of the match in the T20 Final Zac Keune guided the Gators home with a measured 41*. Earlier the Gators’ three-pronged spin attack of Mitch Swepson (2/33), Josh Connolly (3/32) and Charlie Hemphrey (2/50) combined beautifully with the competition’s leading wicket-taker Nathan Rimmington (0/35) to restrict University to 9/209 off their 50 overs. Despite going wicketless in the semi-final, Rimmington is coming off two-day match figures of 10/88 against Ipswich/Logan making him a serious threat with the ball at the start of the innings and when returning at the death. Sandgate-Redcliffe’s skipper Lachlan Thompson is also in great form with the bat, with scores of 84 and 113 in his recent two-day fixtures.
Sam Truloff (Western Suburbs) vs Charlie Hemphrey (Sandgate-Redcliffe)
In what could prove a high scoring contest between two devastating batting line-ups, the respective sides star batters will be looking to produce high quality performances on Allan Border Field. Truloff and Hemphrey have dominated all three formats of the game, both earning Sheffield Shield call ups and both registering three centuries over the course of the summer. While Hemphrey’s recent form has been down compared to the early parts of the season, his all-round capabilities will have him threatening his opposition in all facets of the game — whether he’s back in the runs or taking wickets. In total Hemphrey has surpassed the 900-run mark — standing third on the top scorers list — while also claiming 19 wickets in what has been a summer of the highest quality for the Bulls squad member.
Truloff has been a standout performer this season with his effortless ability to time the ball proving to be extremely fruitful in the white-ball formats. His 890 total runs for the season — averaging 52.35 — sits him fourth of the run scoring charts, however in seven one-day fixtures he has scored a whopping 499 runs at 99.80 (2 x 100s and 3 x 50s) to go with a T20 century as well. After struggling for runs during the mid-point of the season upon his return from Bulls duties, Truloff has regained his early form in the backend of the competition scoring two centuries in January to cement his status as one of the leading batters in the competition.
Paddy Dooley (Western Suburbs) vs Mitch Swepson (Sandgate-Redcliffe)
The frontline spinners of both sides will likely be key figures in limiting the carnage of the imposing batting line-ups confronting them. Having starred in yet another BBL campaign, the highly touted Swepson will be looking to put a stamp on his return to Premier Cricket, with his consistent areas and changes of pace proving difficult to get away as shown in Sandgate’s semi-final victory. Swepson’s ability to tie batsmen down in the middle of a 50-over innings could prove the catalyst for a Wests collapse throughout their innings.
While Wests Paddy Dooley may not share the same limelight as his opponent, he is truly having a season to remember. While his 32 wickets have been impressive — seventh on the wicket takers list — it has been his economy rate that was been vital to Wests success. Of the top ten bowlers this season, only Scott Walter has gone for fewer than the 3.04 runs an over Dooley concedes. Much like his leg-spinning counterpart, the frustration this can cause batters will be important to Wests bowling unit which will likely include further spin overs from Steve Paulsen and Chris Sabburg who have also proven very dangerous with the ball in limited overs cricket.
The two sides have met each other in all three formats this year, with the Bulldogs having won the first two meetings but lost the most recent clash to the Gators in the T20 final. Wests Chris Sabburg has proven to be a pain for Sandgate this season with 125 in the one-day fixture and 112 in the two-day competition. In both those Wests victories, Paddy Dooley also contributed with quality bowling figures to help the Bulldogs over the line. Whereas in the T20 Final a fast start with the bat by Gators Matt Dolan (41 off 17), measured batting by Zac Keune (65 off 46) and a tight team bowling effort combined with quality fielding secured the victory for Sandgate-Redcliffe.
With the Limited Overs premiership on the line this Sunday, the Wests Bulldogs and Sandgate-Redcliffe Gators are in form and ready for what should be a great day of one-day cricket.
The Final – John McKnoulty Cup
Sunday 4th February 2018
Western Suburbs Vs Sandgate-Redcliffe
Allan Border Field, 10am start
Livestream – https://livestream.com/accounts/9436031/events/8035366 and available through QLD Cricket’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/qldcricket