FGDCA: One year later, it’s as-you-were semi-finals

THE more things change the more they stay the same – Ferntree Gully District Cricket Association’s Knox Tavern Cup enters the semi-finals this Saturday and Sunday with exactly the same match-ups as last year.
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Minor premiers Upwey-Tecoma will again face Ferntree Gully Footballers and reigning premiers Eildon Park battle Johnson Park. Last year, Footballers upset the highly-rated Tigers and Eildon Park beat the Sharks.

Eildon Park president Chris Noonan said his side were ready for a torrid test against the strong Johnson Park bowling attack.

The Panthers expect to field an unchanged side from past weeks which features nine of the 11 premiership players from last season.

While last season’s captain-coach Josh Dowling returned to the United Kingdom after the flag, Noonan said captain Cam Cosstick and playing coach Nathan McNally continued to lead the club well.

He also commended Aaron Powell for his return to the senior side this season and former North Dandenong player Adrian Baltruschaitis who had provided valuable efforts with bat and ball.

Noonan said the Panthers’ semi-final clash would come down to who batted better out of the two sides. “Johnson Park has a good bowling attack and our bowling attack is one of the best going around so it will come down to how well we bat.”

Rain forced play to be abandoned in the last round of Knox Tavern Cup games last Saturday.

Belgrave and Monbulk were fighting it out to avoid relegation, with Monbulk forcing the Magpies to 4-59 from 25 overs before rain ended any chance of play. The abandoned game meant Monbulk, which won the 2007-08 premiership, is relegated to De Coite Shield next season.

Opening batsman Jason Simmonds is the only current player from that premiership team.

De Coite Shield finals will see minor premiers and favourites Knox Gardens do battle with Mountain Gate and Lysterfield tackle Rowville at Lakesfield Reserve.

The semi-finals in both leagues will be played this Saturday and Sunday with play starting at 1pm each day and Monday being retained as a spare day in case play is lost on either day.

Knox Tavern Cup semi-finals

Upwey Tecoma v Footballers, Upwey Recreation Reserve. Eildon Park v Johnson Park, Eildon Park ground 1.

De Coite Shield semi-finals

Knox Gardens v Mt Gate, Argyle Reserve. Lysterfield v Rowville, Lakesfield Reserve.