HISTORY will be made this weekend as Rosedale-Kilmany and Bundalaguah meet in the Sale-Maffra cricket grand final.
A victory at Sale Oval for Bundalaguah would mark back-to-back premierships, while also extending the club’s record of SMCA titles to 17.
After finishing the home-and-away season on top of the ladder, Rosedale-Kilmany is looking to end a 29-year premiership drought.
Following Rosedale’s success in North Gippsland football and netball last year, the SMCA trophy would also sit well alongside those pieces of silverware in the town’s trophy cabinet.
Premiership success would also cap off great seasons for Anthony Scott and Jake Benfield, who this week were named as joint winners of the Sale-Maffra Cricketer of the Year award.
The Warriors enter the premiership decider on the back of seven straight wins, while the Bulls have won their past three.
The Bulls’ last defeat came at the hands of Rosedale-Kilmany. The win was set-up by an unbeaten 153 from captain Brad Scott.
While Bundalaguah made a reasonable 9-226, it was well short of the Warriors’ 8-301.
At Rosedale in round two, the Warriors appeared destined for defeat after being restricted to 130. However, the Warriors’ bowling attack, which has been a forefront of their campaign, bowled the Bulls out for just 56.
Bundalaguah hasn’t defeated Rosedale-Kilmany since January 2013, but most of the Bulls’ line-up has experience of winning first grade premierships, which could come in handy in such a big game.
In the semi-finals, Bundalaguah had a memorable 10-run victory over Collegians.
In difficult conditions on Saturday at the College Oval, the Bulls were bowled out for 120, with Adrian Burgiel making 32.
With question marks over their bowling against a talented batting line-up, the Bulls were able to bowl Collegians out for 110. Mark Donald claimed four wickets and Dylan Rowley continued his break-out season, by taking three.
Pace bowler Rowley has taken 31 wickets this campaign, with spinner Donald taking 28.
The Bulls have depth in batting, led by captain Mat Dowsett (519 runs this season), Burgiel (503), Daniel Bedggood (400), Ben Saxon (360), Nathan Massey (337) and Sam Bedggood (298).
The Warriors have the bowling to combat the Bulls’ batting, with Benfield having taken 30 wickets this summer, Brandon McDonald 28, Hayden Glover 27 and Isaac Love 25.
Love took six wickets to help RK defeat Stratford in the semi-finals.
Love played a major part in restricting an innings which looked like producing a large total. Instead, the Redbacks made 166.
While set a challenging target, the Warriors reached it with four wickets in hand, led by Leigh Freshwater’s 59 not out and 40 from Anthony Scott.
Anthony’s score put him alongside captain and brother Brad on 553 runs for the season.
With Brad averaging 61.44 and Anthony 42.54, the Bulls will go a long way to winning if they can be restricted.
Rohan Diamond (370 runs) and Benfield (334) can also cause damage with the bat.
Conditions are likely to be cooler than last weekend, with showers possible.
Saturday and Sunday:
First grade: Rosedale-Kilmany v Bundalaguah, 12.15pm at Sale Oval.
Second grade: Bundalaguah v Collegians, 12.30pm at College Oval.
Third grade: Bundalaguah v Collegians, 12.30pm at Stead Street Reserve.
Fourth grade (Saturday only): Collegians v Bundalaguah Bulls, 12.30pm at College astro.