Windsor Castle will look to opening bowlers Harry King and Luke Kijko if they are to upset Port Stephens Pythons’ quest for a fourth premiership in a row.
The Stallions and Pythons meet in the Maitland A-grade cricket grand final for the second year in a row in Saturday’s decider at Coronation Oval.
Windsor Castle defeated the Pythons by seven-wickets in a rain-affected semi-final at Hinton two weeks ago.
Minor premiers Port Stephens progressed to the grand final after the preliminary final against Paterson was washed out.
Windsor Castle’s King and Kijko have formed a great bowling partnership this year and in the semi-final captured the prize wickets of Port skipper Josh Moxey (four) and his brother Jarrod (0). They received strong support from Kristofor Sturmer who finished with 2-21, Aaron Clack 2-19 and Kevin Torrens with 3-20.
The Moxey brothers and Pythons top order batsman Craig Hunter, Matthew Monaghan and Grant Garland have regularly taken bowling attacks apart scoring at better than a run-a-ball.
Windsor Castle will look to openers Chad Ryan and Leigh Williams to lay a solid foundation and runs from Joshua McInnes, Jarrod Bailey, skipper Shayne Bailey and all-rounder Kijko.
The Stallions need a result in the grand final to claim the title and will be watching the weather forecast closely all week. The team which finished highest on the ladder is named premiers in the event of another wash-out.
Port have only missed playing in the grand final twice since the 1998-99 season, collecting 12 premierships in the process.
This season the Pythons finished 12 points clear of Windsor Castle, but have shown some vulnerability during the year dropping two games to the Stallions.
Port Stephens B-grade team also finished minor premiers and faces Chelmsford Hotel in the grand final.
Dungog advanced straight to the grand final after beating minor premiers Lochinvar in the C-grade major semi-final, but like the Stallions needs a win to claim the title.
Bowthorne claimed the minor premiership in D-grade and will take on Tenambit Morpeth in Saturday’s decider. The Old Victoria and minor premiers Hinton play-off in E-grade.
Windsor Castle v Port Stephens at Coronation Oval
Port Stephens v Chelmsford Hotel at Morpeth Oval
Dungog v Lochinvar at Woodberry 1
Bowthorne v Tenambit Morpeth Bulls at Ernie Jurd Oval
The Old Victoria v Hinton at Tenambit Oval.