Final piece of the ‘Pink’ puzzle

Jack Anning takes a ‘screamer’ in the annual Pink Ladies Day clash between Pakenham and Tooradin last year. There’s a lot riding on the line when the Lions and Seagulls turn pink again at Toomuc Reserve on Saturday. 319020 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By David Nagel

Three of the four major decisions have already been made in the CCCA Premier Division as we head into the final round of the season.

Tooradin and Kooweerup will host semi-finals; while Pakenham and Cardinia will round out the contenders.

Carlisle Park will be relegated to District Division next season, leaving just one question remaining unanswered.

Who – out of Tooradin and Kooweerup – will finish top of the ladder and earn potential hosting rights for the grand final?

The main answer to that question will hail from Toomuc Reserve, where Pakenham hosts Tooradin in a block-buster finish to the home-and-away season.

The Seagulls have only lost one game, to Kooweerup in round-nine, while the Lions have won six on the trot to be the form team of the competition.

Win this and Pakenham will have made a clean-sweep of all other teams over the last seven rounds.

The obvious place to start with this one is at the top of the Pakenham batting order, where opener Chris Smith continues to set records that may never be replicated.

Back-to-back double-centuries; 564 runs without dismissal…these are legendary achievements that will be spoken about as long as cricket is played.

They’re extraordinary numbers that have altered the history books forever!

But Smith faces a dangerous opponent this week in the form of Seagulls’ rocket-launcher Brad Butler…the quickest bowler in the CCCA who can ‘hurry-up’ the best of them.

Smith v Butler is a mouth-watering prospect; set to play out in front of one of the biggest crowds of the season.

It’s just a shame that most of the 230 females gathering for ‘Pink Ladies Day’ couldn’t care less what’s happening on the centre wicket.

This will be the tenth PLD for some ladies…and some have never seen a ball bowled!

But the atmosphere will be electric all the same; with Smith, Jack Anning and Dale Tormey set to butt heads with the economical duo of Josh Lownds and Peter Sweeney – if they survive their bout with Butler!

The Gulls top-order has also shown some promising signs in recent times, with Lions’ youngsters James Close and Marcus Martini sure to have their hands full with players like Lownds, Sweeney and Cal O’Hare.

This one should be a beauty – but we’ll go for the Gulls to win and earn this year’s minor premiership.

Devon Meadows will look to put a final exclamation mark on a competitive return to Premier Division cricket when the Panthers host relegation-bound Carlisle Park.

Lucas Ligt and his team were right in contention for finals after round eight – having won four and drawn one – but have since lost five-straight outings.

Ligt (556 runs) and Will Halton (365) can hold their heads high with the willow, while veteran Lucas Carroll (21 wickets) and the emerging Riley Worsteling (18) have done significant damage with the ball.

Carlisle Park hasn’t won a game since round three, and a heart-breaking loss to Merinda Park in round 10 consigned them to District Division next season.

Ben Perry (360 runs and 14 wickets) has performed well for the Vikings, and the 23-year-old skipper is set to be a hot-property when Premier Division clubs look to strengthen their lists for next season.

In other games this week, a ‘relegation-safe’ Clyde should give Kooweerup a run for its money at Clyde, although the Demons have too much riding on this one to let it slip.

Defeat the Cougars; and Pakenham rolls Tooradin, and the Demons will launch their quest for a ninth premiership in 15 years from pole position on the starting grid.

Luke McMaster (190) exploded to life last week after a quiet patch with the bat; and the fire-power of he (608 runs), Chris Bright (577) and Steven Dillon (429) will prove too much for the Cougars to handle.

And the game between Merinda Park and Cardinia looks to be a well-balanced affair at Tony Way Reserve.

The Cobras have batted solidly over the last two rounds (249 v Pakenham, 234 v Kooweerup) but have been monstered by Smith (210 not out) and McMaster (190).

Mat Campbell would love to finish the season on a high, and a 230-plus score just might be enough against the Bulls.

We’ll go for the Cobras to claim a fourth win for the season.


Pakenham (3) v TOORADIN (1)

Clyde (7) v KOOWEERUP (2)

MERINDA PARK (6) v Cardinia (4)

DEVON MEADOWS (5) v Carlisle Park (8)