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Minor premiers seek major status – 4th grade grand final preview vs. Western Suburbs

The TravelSim Waratah’s fourth grade side have the chance to show the competition why they are the reigning minor premiers in this weekend’s grand final against third place Western Suburbs. Finishing first past the post comes with its benefits, with the Tahs securing the sacred and beloved Manly Oval to play their grand final on.

The two-day match for the grand final will be a test of stamina for both sides. With a match of this kind, where a team has placed, or their previous matches against one another, is not as much of a weighting factor in the outcome. It will be purely down to the team that turns up on the day and is able to keep up the effort for the entirety of the match.

Last weekend, the Tahs got the win over Gordon in a relatively close game, scoring 213 runs and then bowling their opposition out ten runs from a win. Adam Gummer got the highest score with 60 runs, with the rest spread fairly evenly over Jarrod Walter, Jimmy Crombie and Matt Brewster who all hit scores around the 30 mark. Manly teams had a strong bowling attack during their semi-finals, particularly seen last week from Alex Bain’s four wickets and Sam Alexander’s three, as well as Michael Counsell and Brad Wilson getting a wicket each to secure the win in the tight match.

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Western Suburbs on the other hand proved their own strength, declaring at 7/244 runs and bowling Northern District all out for 156 runs. Interestingly, every single Western Suburbs player got to have a bowl bar two (including the wicket keeper), and each player finished with some decent figures. This exemplifies the depth of their bowling attack and is something Manly will need to watch out for coming into this weekend’s game. However, it does not come as a surprise, with Western Suburbs’ Rowan Carthey leading the competition for wickets taken this season – 49 in 38 matches, as well as having two players in the top three most amount of catches taken. However, Manly have the talent to match, with two players in the top ten for the amount of runs scored in a game, and Adam Gummer scoring the fourth most amount of runs in total this season.

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Manly will also be seeking redemption, as when these two sides last met in round nine, the Tahs suffered a loss to Western Suburbs, after failing to score enough to get a win. However, it is a completely different Manly team at this point of the season, and with the game being on the very much holy Manly Oval, it should give them the extra comfort and boost to focus on getting the job done and getting the win.

It is the most important weekend of the season for any side in the competition, but even more so for Manly’s fourth grade side to show why they deserved the minor premiership, and to continue the accolades into gaining the major premiership too.