Chapman Valley-Northampton meet the Wanderers in Geraldton men’s cricket for last grand final berth

Victor TantiGeraldton Guardian
Nigel Routledge has starred for the Valley Rams.
Camera IconNigel Routledge has starred for the Valley Rams. Credit: Reuben Carder/Geraldton Guardian

It has been an enthralling men’s cricket season in Geraldton, but with three sides left in it and the pointy end approaching, one side will see their season end on Saturday.

The Wanderers and Chapman Valley-Northampton meet in the Geraldton Bendigo Bank Cricket League preliminary final at GBSC Park to decide who will play the all-conquering Towns in next week’s big match.

It’s likely the Wanderers will be that team, as they boast a much superior record, but a tense game is to be expected and surprises can’t be ruled out.

The Wanderers have 12 wins and four losses, compared to CVN’s 6-10.

The Valley Rams have improved and could yet spring an upset, although it would be against the run of the form table.

The Wanderers have five batters with more thanr 200 runs including league leader Jason Partington (426 runs) while recruit Clayton Bruce-Cherry has three tons in five innings — one of them against CVN.

With the ball, young Gus Heberle has 27 wickets followed by Ian Oglesby and Justin Clarkson on 21 and 18 respectively.

Wanderers captain Kade Gillingham also has Bruce-Cherry who is very handy, Digby Gallop, Zane Gray and an ace up his sleeve in Shayne Bidwell.

CVN has three batters with 200 runs behind them and Nigel Routledge has averaged 32 in his past five innings. The unrelated Jack and Hayden Dawson are also fine bats.

With the ball Bobby Gibson, Cody Slootmans and Patrick Walsh have 17 or more wickets and young pacer Zac Williamson has impressed.

“Chapman Valley-Norths are a solid team and when they play good cricket, hard to beat,” Gillingham said.

“They have talented youngsters such as Slootmans and Gibson and Jack Dawson is definitely a game-changer.”

Gillingham is only 18 but leadership has come easily to him.

“I’ve had a good year and loved the experience — it’s been rewarding and I’m lucky Biddy (Bidwell) is still playing as he’s helped me a lot.”

CVN captain James Billing said his men planned an upset.

“It’s been 11 years since we last played a final so there’s hunger especially for those who’ve been here in that time and we’ll come out firing,” Billing said.

“Many wouldn’t give us much chance but we know we’re capable of winning — I’ve spoken to the boys and they’re excited and confident.

“Wanderers are class and dangermen include Bruce-Cherry, Bidwell and Partington while Oglesby always causes us issues with the ball but then he’s one of several bowling options.

“Our bowlers have been consistent and I want them to stick to fundamentals and wickets will come.”

In the B-grade, the Wanderers play Towns at the Rec Ground while minor premiers Dongara are home against CVN.

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