Family ties give Wildcats finals boost
VIGORO: Having represented Wildcats for nearly 40 years, Kerryn Graham knows how important the club's family spirit is.
"Our team has a lot of siblings and cousins and even mothers and daughters playing,'' she said.
"We have a pretty close little club. We all get on and we have a lot of fun out there too which helps.''
At this time of the year, that can be an added advantage.
With Wildcats Gold already in the Division 2 grand final on March 17, the club's top side are hoping to join them after finishing the regular season in second spot.
The Wildcats Division 1 side lost to TC United by two runs on the first innings in their latest match before Saturday's semi-final.
However, experienced players like Graham are excited about the opportunity to contest a grand final the top side hasn't won in a number of years.
"It would have been nice to get the win on Saturday (to secure a direct path to the grand final),'' she said. "But never mind, these things happen.''
The final Division 1 points were Occasionals 40 (minor premiers), Wildcats 39.5, Sports 35.5, T.C United 31.
Wildcats now have the extra challenge of beating third-placed Sports to qualify for the title decider.
Opening batter and bowler Graham was wary of Sports after a draw and narrow first-innings loss to them this season.
Sports also head into the semi-final on a high after beating minor premiers Occasionals by 10 runs on the first innings in last Saturday's final round game.
Megan Packer took 7/10 and 4/23 for Sports to pose a major threat for Wildcats in the semi-final.
Graham, who has played every game this season, hoped Wildcats could continue their consistent season when it mattered most.
She said setting a decent total in the semi-final was crucial.
"I think we could always make a few more runs . . . get the runs on the board and you are a little bit more relaxed in the field,'' she said.
While disappointed with her batting last Saturday, Graham contributed a handy 4/10 with the ball.
She saw merit in qualifying for the grand final directly but said playing a semi-final first kept team momentum going.
"It is (an advantage) a bit because you don't have the week off but knowing that you go straight through is also a bit of a relief as well,'' she said.
Graham was confident Wildcats would field their best side for the semi-final after resting some players with minor injuries last Saturday.
Occasionals and Sports will meet in Saturday's junior grand final at the East Ipswich vigoro grounds.
State of play
1st Division: Occasionals advance to grand final.
Semi-final: Saturday (1pm) - Wildcats v Sports. Winner plays Occasionals in the grand final.
2nd Division: Wildcats Gold advance to grand final.
Semi-final: Saturday (9am) - T.C. United v Sports. Winner to play Wildcats Gold in the grand final.
Junior grand final: Saturday (8am) - Occasionals v Sports.
All matches are at the Ipswich Vigoro grounds, Joyce Street, East Ipswich.