The Victorian Bushrangers and VicSpirit Pathway Championships will culminate on Sunday with the under-18 state finals to be staged on the hallowed turf of the MCG.
In the morning Twenty20 encounter, South East Metro will clash with Gippsland Pride for the VicSpirit crown, with World Cup winner Elyse Villani back from India to take the coaching reins of her country outfit.
South East Metro went through December’s preliminary rounds unscathed on the back of their star studded line-up including VicSpirit rookie Alana King.
King, who finished the qualifying campaign with 138 runs and seven wickets, will no doubt hold the key for South East as it looks to maintain its dominance over the remainder of the competition.
Fellow Victorian Under-18 representative, Charlotte Killeen, will also look to succeed in the final after coming off a similarly successful campaign, where she compiled 133 runs opening the batting.
The Pride’s line-up is also full of talent with Victorian representatives Georgia Fisher and Chelsea Moscript among their outfit.
Fisher has enjoyed a successful carnival with both bat and ball, taking an economical 5-56 to go along with her 114 runs, while Moscript contributed 102 runs and three wickets.
The Pride’s ability to win tight games will no doubt hold them in good stead as they look to notch up a memorable win.
“It’s been such an amazing five weeks,” Villani said upon her return to Melbourne from the sub-continent.
“I’m fortunate enough to have such a fantastic group of girls, who are all willing to learn, and I hope for their sake that they are able to work really well together on Sunday and get home.
“We’ll keep things pretty simple, but hopefully they enjoy the experience.”
In the Under-18 Bushrangers Championships, title holders South East Bayside Breakers will face Central Highlands in another metropolitan versus country encounter.
The Breakers pulled off a memorable run-chase in their semi-final against Northern Falcons to keep their title defence alive.
The highlight of the Breakers’ carnival has been the form of the competition’s leading wicket-taker, Shea Gribben, who has taken an outstanding 16 wickets from just five games.
The Breakers are led with the bat by Richmond’s Will Agar, the younger brother of emerging West Australian all-rounder Ashton, who finished second in the competition run aggregate with 193 at 48.25.
The Highlands will go into Sunday full of confidence after comfortable victories saw them qualify for their second final in four seasons.
Their five-wicket semi-final win over South East Sharks saw Australian Under-19 representative Matthew Short rectify an otherwise modest batting return, with a-run-a-ball 115 to lead the Highlands to the MCG.
Short will share the stage on the weekend with Victorian Under-17 captain Patrick McKenna, as well as Northcote gloveman Blayde Baker and North Melbourne batsman James Lidgett.
With the ball, Melbourne quick Logan Gray looks a dangerous prospect after taking an impressive 12 wickets throughout the carnival.
The final of the Under-18 VicSpirit Championships will commence at 8am, while the Victorian Bushrangers Championships final will be held from 12pm.
Updates throughout the day will be available by following @CVPathway on Twitter and/or ‘liking’ the CV Pathway Facebook page.
For more information on the Pathway Championships, click here.