It’s the business end of the 2020/21 season and the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club has a whopping seven of its nine sides into the finals – all of which commence tomorrow on Saturday 6th March!
In all, our top seven teams including First Grade are playing off in the penultimate match of the season, meaning we have the most chances amongst all other clubs in our competition to reach the ultimate glory.
The list is highlighted by our First Grade who are playing at the home of cricket at the Spartan HQ at John Connell Reserve, against the Cockburn Cricket Club at 1:00pm.
The Leeming Spartan Cricket Club finished the season as Minor Premiers in the top grade, a fantastic performance that continues a sensational last couple of years for the Club. We are currently back-to-back premiers for the first time in our 102-year history, and the hopes are certainly to make it a three-peat which would certainly cap off one of the most incredible achievements in our history.
Before then though we’ll have to overcome Cockburn, who have been a very strong side all season, and undoubtedly all eyes will be on Paul Kalleske’s men as we try to progress through to our fifth consecutive First Grade grand final.
Our other games will be played throughout the area, with five of the seven matches being played in the 35-over format on the Saturday in their entirety, with the winners expected to be known by 7:00pm tomorrow night.
Our first and second grades are participating in 75-over matches that span two days, with their games being played on both Saturday and Sunday the 7th March.
Such is the nature of the two-day game, the Sunday fixture is expected to be a massive event down at the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club and we have tied it in nicely with our Life Members and Sponsors Day at the clubhouse, so be sure to see a big crowd down at the Spartans. Everyone is invited and highly encouraged to come out and watch day two of the First Grade match as it should be an absolute ripper.
To have seven out of our nine sides in the semi-finals is an incredible achievement and a testament to all the players that have marched out onto the park for the Club this season. It has been fantastic to see the selection process stronger than ever, with everyone coming together to put together a super summer of cricket in perhaps the most uncertain of times.
Right now though, the time is to enjoy some exciting and action-packed cricket, as we look towards our semi-finals series at the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club.
It all commences tomorrow on Saturday March 6th from 1:00pm, and below, we’ve outlined the games not to be missed and where they’re being played. Read on to find out exactly what is in store at the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club on semi-final Saturday!
Against Cockburn at John Connell Reserve – 1:00pm Start
As mentioned earlier, our First Grade are playing off for the chance to compete in their fifth-straight SMCA Grand Final.
First things first though – we have to beat Cockburn Cricket Club in what is going to be one of the most hotly-anticipated matches of the 2020/21 season!
Cockburn have been very strong all year, and were runners-up in this year’s T20 First Grade competition and ultimately finished fourth in the main show – winning four games out of seven. Both teams are coming off a loss too so both should be as keen as ever to bounce back in style with a shot of playing in the Grand Final on the line.
The Spartans meanwhile suffered their first defeat of the two-day season last week, going down to Roleystone-Karragullen who have been relegated from the competition. This was a disastrous end to the season and continues our run of losing the last match of the regular season, something we’ve done for four years in a row. Here’s hoping the side can come back strongly and make it known just how important this game is. The team has been the standout side all year and have it all to play for this weekend, with the loser eliminated.
Second Grade (SMCA Third Grade):
Against Kardinya Lakes at Shelley Reserve – 1:00pm Start
Our second side won the right to a home final last week after routing Roleystone-Karragullen by an innings, an outright victory sealed by captain Tom Frantom’s sensational 12 wicket haul. This allowed the Spartans to leapfrog their way into second position where they will now face the arch-rivals CBC at Shelley Reserve for a spot in the grand final.
This has all the makings of a sensational game with both teams featuring young sides who will be desperate to get the win and a shot at even bigger glory.
CBC were the clear standouts in the regular-round fixture between these two sides, played in early January in Round 4, winning comfortably by 100 runs after making 169 in the first innings. That is definitely old news though, and the growth of our second grade side in the weeks since means this is going to be a very tight encounter, and well worth the price of admission.
Third Grade (SMCA One Day ‘A’ Grade):
Against Champion Lakes at Trevor Gribble Reserve – 1:00pm Start
Our One Day ‘A’ side has had a stellar season, taking out the minor premiership by finishing on top of the ladder and looking every-bit a premiership side. That would make sense given this team are back-to-back premiers.
Jordan McArdle’s side has really been second to none for much of the season, having lost just three out of their fourteen games this season. The Spartans take on Champion Lakes in tomorrow’s matchup and have played them twice already this season – defeating them on both occasions. Of course though this means little given it is now do-or-die and a chance to play in the Grand Final is on the line.
McArdle’s men will be keen also to rebound from their recent form, as they lost their last two games of the regular season, but what better chance is there to rectify recent form than in a massive semi-final at Trevor Gribble Reserve – a ground that they have grown so accustomed to over the past three years.
Fourth Grade (SMCA One Day ‘B’ Grade):
Against Kelmscott at Peter Ellis Stadium – 1:00pm Start
The Spartan One Day ‘B’ side finished in second place in season 2020/21 and are undoubtedly keen to continue their winning ways this season when they take on Kelmscott at Peter Ellis in tomorrow’s semi-final.
This is unfamiliar territory for the home side though as despite being a home game the team has not played at the ground this season. This is unlikely to phase the side too much though given they have already played at two of our four home grounds this season already, and will be more preoccupied with breaking through the opposition’s top order than what the ground itself may have in store.
That would include getting Kelmscott’s opening batsman Ravinder Singh out early as he is the grade’s leading run scorer and averaging a very impressive 53 this season.
That said though, Neil Hewson’s men have had a number of superstar performers of their own including Alex Martin, who is the grade’s fifth leading wicket-taker at an economy rate of just 3.13. Similarly, Matthew Walters return to the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club has not gone unnoticed, and in his ten games this season he has amassed a very impressive 345 runs at an average of 43.
This too should prove to be a cracker of a game of cricket, and has all the makings of one that may very well go down to the wire.
Fifth Grade (SMCA One Day ‘C’ Grade):
Against Kardinya Lakes at Alan Edwards Reserve – 1:00pm Start
The Leeming Spartan Cricket Club’s fifth grade has been ably led by Anthony “Sooty” McGhie this season and managed to find themselves in fourth position at the completion of the regular home and away season.
The team finished three games clear of fifth spot so finals had always been on the cards for much of the season, although they were ultimately hammered in the final game of the season last weekend.
The game in question was also against Kardinya Lakes – our semi-final opponents, who finished on top of the ladder, so it is expected we will start underdogs in this particular encounter. Kardinya accounted for us twice this season in the One Day ‘C’ grade, although we only lost the four games for the season in total, so it is very much a case of ensuring all the plans are adhered to and if so, we will stand a very good chance of making it through to the big dance next weekend.
The matchup features the two leading run-scorers in this grade up against each other, with Kardinya’s Bill Hargreaves (422 runs at 38.36) and our own Sre Natarajan (344 runs at 31.27) expected to feature heavily in this encounter. It’s been a terrific season for Sre, who is also seventh in the grade’s leading wicket-taker standings with his 18 wickets.
He is overshadowed somewhat though by our own David Moody, who takes the top spot for the most wickets in the grade this season with 25, including a personal best of 6/13. Moods has had a brilliant year with the ball and expect him to play a big role in tomorrow’s semi-final.
The game itself is on at Alan Edwards Reserve, an away semi-final and despite Kardinya’s strong hold over us recently, it is certainly a game that could go either way tomorrow.
Sixth Grade (SMCA One Day ‘E’ Grade):
Against Phoenix at Karoonda Oval A – 1:00pm Start
The sixth grade is venturing into enemy territory for the purposes of playing their home semi-final, despite finishing as minor premiers on top of the premiership table.
We’ve literally run out of home grounds here at the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club to accomodate our seven sides playing in the semi-finals, particularly given the fact that six of the sides have earned the right to home finals. As such, we’ve ventured off to Booragoon to play this game – a location that neither of these two sides have played at this season.
Speaking of the opposition, we’re taking on Phoenix in this encounter in what should be a tricky affair between the two sides, both of whom feature some exceptional players at their disposal.
Leeming Spartan have defeated Phoenix in both encounters this season, although one of the games was way back in round one. The second encounter, on January 30th this year saw us chase down Phoenix’s 116 quite comfortably on the back of an opening stand of 112 between Chris Geers and Pete Brown, who both made fine fifties at the top of the order.
In all, the Spartans only lost the one game all season and finished on top of the ladder. The one defeat though was not much of one to write home about, after we lost to second-placed Armadale by 122 runs in an extremely one-sided affair.
A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then and for tomorrow the game is very much on against Phoenix – who have a very strong side on paper also and managed to defeat Armadale in round eight.
It has all the makings for a brilliant match and it will be interesting to see what effect, if any, the neutral ground will have on tomorrow’s fixture.
Seventh Grade (SMCA One Day ‘F’ Grade):
Against Roleystone-Karagullen at Karoonda Oval B – 1:00pm Start
Graeme Tysoe’s men have continued the running theme above by being brilliant all season, finishing on top of the ladder and losing just the three matches in season 2020/21. This shouldn’t mean the semi-final against Roleystone-Karagullen is a given though, because in the solitary match played between these two teams this season saw us defeated. It was a brilliant game though mind you, as we went down by just two wickets in the game’s final over.
If recent form is anything to go by, then the odds would have to be in our favour, as we have won five on the trot, with our last loss coming on January 16th.
Our own Darren Woodward is the grade’s leading run-scorer this season, having amassed 609 runs at an incredible average of 76.13. Evan Robson, also from the side, sits fifth, with 372 runs at an average of exactly 62. Our first change bowler and Club-favourite Sean McGowan is third on the leading wicket-takers list, with 18 wickets at an average of 8.22 and a best of 5/15.
The team has had some sensational performances throughout the year, and will be hard-pressed to be beaten tomorrow. Of course anything can happen on the day, and it will be an all-too-familiar occurrence if so for this side who were beaten in last year’s semi-final in a match they were backed to win. So trust Tysoe’s troops to be giving their all from ball one in tomorrow’s must-win encounter.
Games On For This Weekend:
Seven sides in the semi-finals is a sensational achievement and makes for a brilliant weekend of cricket that we cannot wait for! All the games are going to be extremely exciting, and should prove to be well worth the watch.
The clubhouse will of course be open tomorrow night and all day Sunday, so be sure to get down to the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club this weekend!
The Leeming Spartan Cricket Club would also like to express its sincere thanks to the CBC Cricket Club who have very kindly made their ovals at Karoonda Reserve available for hire for these semi-final fixtures. Unfortunately due to the Club’s current situation regarding its reserves within the City of Melville, we were two grounds short for hosting semi-final matches. CBC have been great in helping us obtain the use of their reserves as home grounds for our use tomorrow.