Anticipation is high for the 2012-13 Bushranger Pathway Championship Finals which will be held this Sunday at Shepley and Wilson Ovals in Dandenong.
The under-16 Dowling Shield is an all metro affair between the Northern Falcons and Inner East Emus, who each prevailed in tough semi-finals.
The Northern Falcons, who defeated the Inner South East Scorpions for a place in the decider, will be tough to beat with star all-rounder Jacob Ireland the key with both ball and bat.
Ireland's was one of the most impressive all-rounders throughout the carnival with nine wickets, at an average of just nine, and 133 runs at 44.33.
Ireland is backed up by Victorian under-17 wicketkeeper Liam Banthorpe, who registered an important 52 in the semi-final to secure the Falcons victory.
The Falcons' bowling attack will have their work cut out though against a powerful Emus battling line-up.
The competition's outstanding batsmen, Liam Smith, will look to add to his unrivalled 298 runs, at an average of 74, on Sunday.
Smith shares the top of the run scorers list with Emus' captain Shehan Kudage-Don, together adding well over 500 runs in one of the most deadly batting partnerships in Dowling Shield history.
Among the various sub-plots of the clash will be the Northern Falcons' attempt to go back-to-back, while the Emus will look to defend the under-14 title the group won two years ago.
The under-14 Final will pit two country teams against each other with the Northern Rivers taking on the Barwon Rockets for the Championship.
Northern Rivers made the final the hard way, with a first up loss to the North East Knights threatening their campaign from the start.
Four wins have propelled the side into to the championship decider full of confidence.
The Rivers' strength is their bowling stocks, with Jack Boumeester and Alastair McCann boasting 17 wickets between them.
The Barwon Rockets travelled a similar path to the finals, going down in round two, before winning their finals by just two and three wickets respectively.
The team has relied on a team effort and with their ability to win tight and low scoring games, they will be difficult to beat.
The under-16 Final will kick off at Shepley Oval from 10am, with the under-14's following on Wilson Oval from 10.30am.
To keep up to date on both matches, be sure to 'like' the CV Pathway Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @CVPathway.
08 FEBRUARY, 2013|Lachlan McKenna