A FIRST-grade flag has been a glaring absence from Wanneroo District Cricket Club’s walls for the entirety of the club’s 34-year history.
This weekend they have the chance to fill that gap, when they face 2011 premiers Subiaco-Floreat in the grand final at the WACA.
Last month, Wanneroo’s season was on a knife’s-edge going into the final round of the season against minor premiers Joondalup.
Wanneroo was one spot outside the final six and looked unlikely to topple the league leaders.
But in the lead-up to the game, captain Rob Fairchild told the Weekender his side could beat Joondalup, make the finals and push all the way through them.
His prediction was spot on.
“It was a bold statement at the time, but with the momentum we had prior to Christmas and the way the boys were playing together, we thought we’d be OK through the finals,” he said.
The Roos beat Joondalup again in the semi-finals last week to progress to this weekend’s final.
The Wanneroo camp is abuzz after each of the club’s four grade sides made the finals this season
While the fourths were the only other team to reach the grand final this weekend, Fairchild said the whole club had continued to train.
“There’s no separation between the guys, everyone’s working together regardless of the seconds and thirds being out… it’s a really good feeling,” he said.
The Roos last met Subiaco-Floreat in the elimination final and had a solid four-wicket first-innings win.
But Subiaco-Floreat has since added formidable WA bowling all-rounder Nathan Coulter-Nile to its line-up.
The 24-year-old, who has been tipped for national honours, took 5-25 and made 87 against Melville in last week’s semi final.
“Coulter-Nile is obviously a quality A-grade bowler… but our batsmen are well adapted to fast bowling, coming off a pretty good bowling attack on the weekend playing Joondalup,” Fairchild said.
With Coulter-Nile in the side, it sets up a fascinating clash with his WA teammate, Wanneroo batsman Wes Robinson who scored 102 not out against Joondalup last week.
Fairchild expected the game to be won with the ball.
“Generally with the WACA… if you win the toss you bowl,” Fairchild said.
He expects to be fit for the game, having so far missed the finals with a back injury.
“I’ve got to pass a fitness test… but I should be OK,” he said.