Sunday night’s Premier Twenty20 final is looming as a battle of the bowlers as Melville and Subiaco-Floreat prepare to fight for the first silverware of the cricket season at the WACA.
The Twenty20 final will be a north vs south affair and a repeat of the 2019 decider between the two sides, which Melville won by eight wickets.
Both sides produced strong bowling efforts in their semifinal victories and Melville captain Fraser Hay said he felt it would be more of the same on Saturday night.
Hay said Melville’s bowlers had performed admirably all season and felt their efforts in the final could go a long way to deciding victory, although the entire squad would have a part to play.
“I think our major strength is our bowling attack and we haven’t scored massive totals, but we’ve been able to defend really well and we’re just backing our bowling attack in to defend any sort of low chase that we have,” he said.
“Batting wise it has just been everyone sort of chipping in here or there, there’s a couple of people leading from the front but, mostly the bowling attack is winning us the games at the moment.
“They (Subiaco-Floreat) have got a couple of strong batters in really good form, so I think it’s going to come down to which bowling attacking can restrict the batters the most.”
Subiaco-Floreat coach Wayne Clark praised his bowlers for their sterling efforts this season, particularly in their Twenty20 semifinal against Scarborough, in which they held their rivals to 7-87.
He said he felt the team who refused to blink in the face of pressure would be the one who emerged victorious.
“The side that panics last will win the game, it’s a as simple as that,” Clark said. “There’s always individuals that will come out and can nearly win the game off their own bat, but it’s just all the little things.
“Fielding is so important, every run counts, but it’s just about continuing to apply the pressure and you can’t panic at any stage because the game can change so quickly.”
Melville have dominated the T20 competition since its inception in 2005-06, having claimed the honours on five separate occasions, most recently in 2019.
Hay, who hit an unbeaten 51 off just 25 balls in that final, said the club had a culture that leant itself to success in the short format of the game, as well as a lot of depth in the playing ranks.
“We would all consider ourselves predominantly white ball cricketers and we’ve all grown up in and around the club, and that format of the game has always been a strength,” he said.
“We’ve always had opportunities to be playing in finals in that format, so I think when you have experience playing that many finals and going all the way in a couple of them, everyone knows how to win these games of crickets.
“We profile our T20 cricket around having a really strong core group of players that get us across the line most weeks, but when some people don’t perform, there’s always others stepping up and we’ve got a lot of people we can draw upon.”
Clark said after a disappointing year in last season’s Twenty20 competition, they had made a few changes to the way they approached the format this season, with excellent results.
“I’ve got Jim Sansalone taking on a coaching role with our colts and our Twenty20 side, and just that extra focus has made a difference,” he said. “Jim is an ex player and I was using him as an assistant coaches for fielding and I put it to him I’d like to create a little bit more focus on that (Twenty20 format).
“Because we performed so poorly, we decided we’re going to put a little bit more focus on this year and It’s proved to be pretty successful.”