Minor premiers avoid tricky semi-final situation
SECURING the minor premiership is a blessing in disguise for consistent performers TC United.
With a number of players having family commitments or niggling injuries, captain Clare Gillett welcomed the weekend off before her team focuses on another grand final.
TC only wrapped up top spot after beating Wildcats in last Saturday's first division match at the East Ipswich vigoro grounds.
However, Gillett heads into her third grand final as captain and sixth in a row for the team feeling upbeat.
"The last few weeks the girls have really started to hit their straps again,'' she said.
"At this time of the year coming into finals, we really needed it considering how close the competition was.
"I think being minor premiers again really helps us out.''
While Occasionals last week said they were happy to play a semi-final before defending their title, Gillett was relieved about not having to line up in Saturday's 1pm semi-final.
"If we were going to be in a grand final, it's the best way that we could be there because semi-final week we would have had a few of top players out,'' Gillett said.
That includes in-form all-rounder Kate Johnstone who has a wedding in New Zealand.
She took 4/7, 3/9 and made five runouts as TC scored 55 and 5 in beating Wildcats (24 and 37) in the final round game.
"We were trying to avoid the semi if we could,'' said Gillett, who took 4/14 in Saturday's match.
"It's great for the girls to really put it together. They worked really hard to get that top spot.''
Gillett said TC players without commitments would go on a spying mission watching Occasionals battle with Wildcats. The winner of that game meets TC in the premiership decider on March 25.
The TC skipper rates Occasionals a major threat with their experience and peaking at the right time.
"They are definitely finding their form as well,'' she said.
However, she said Wildcats were also dangerous with players like Kerryn Graham able to turn a match. Graham took 6/22 on Saturday.
"Kerryn is a great all-rounder,'' Gillett said. "Kerryn is another one who in any game can really put the pressure on and make it difficult to score runs.''
Occasionals' win over Sports was set up by a number of handy contributions including 21 from Nicole McDonald with the bat.
Naomi Schaper took 5/15 and Gaby Weller snared 4/3, including a hat-trick.
Lee Scudds took 7/20 as Sports tried to secure a final win of the season.
Gillett said the weekend of low scores reflected the closeness of the teams heading into the finals.
"Credit to the bowling at the moment,'' she said.
"Every team has really tightened up their bowling and really focused on how they are fielding. That contributes a lot as well to lower scores.
"It also reflects the quality of vigoro at the moment.''
State of play
Final Division 1 points: T.C United 52, Occasionals 48 Wildcats 43, Sports 27.
Semi-final (Saturday, 1pm): Occasionals v Wildcats.
Division 2: Wildcats Gold 46, Sports 37.5, TC United 34, Wildcats Black 30.5, Occasionals 19.
Semi-finals (Saturday, 9am): Wildcats Gold v Wildcats Black; Sports v TC United.
Junior grand final (Saturday, 8am): Wildcats v Sports Spirit.