One of the great recent rivalries in Cessnock cricket continues with Mulbring and Bellbird matching up in yet another grand final.
Grand final preview
Mulbring vs Bellbird at Miller Park, Branxton 12.30pm start Saturday.
Head to head this season: Scheduled 4, Mulbring 3, Bellbird 0, Washouts 1.
Last Season: Minor/Major Premiers.
Captain: Josh Lewis
Premierships: Ten (1971-72, 1992-93, 1994-95, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2005-06, 2010-11, 2011-12, joint 2012-13, 2015-16).
Key Three: Drew Olsen, Brad Strachan, Cameron Ross
X-Factor: Greg Sheehan
Last Season: 2nd, beaten Grand Finalists.
Captain: Ben Fairlie
Premierships: Eleven (1930-31, joint 1991-92, 1995-96, 1997-98, 1998-99, 2001-02, 2006-07, 2009-10, joint 2012-13, joint 2013-14, 2014-15).
Key Three: Jason Orr, Elliot Gyler, Billy Orr
X-Factor: Rob Drage
These two great rivals will again go head to head for premiership glory this Saturday for the sixth time in the past seven years.
Mulbring are yet to drop a game this season, cruising to claim the minor premiership in style with still five games remaining in the regular season.
The two teams have met three times this season, with the Marlins claiming victory fairly convincingly on all three occasions.
This you would think would lead punters into thinking Mulbring would win this one fairly comfortably, but for some reason Bellbird really stand up at this time of year.
If the nail-biting deciders they have played in over the past six of seven years are anything to go by, one would assume this Saturday at Miller Park will be no different.
Both teams boast very strong batting line ups, hence the team batting first would hope to post 200 to be competitive.
Bellbird’s chances of a hefty total rest heavily on the shoulders of the in-form opening combination of Rod Drage and Jason Orr.
Mulbring run-machine Drew Olsen heads up a batting line up that appears to get stronger down the order.
The bowling probably cancels each other out, with Mulbring probably just having the edge in the field.
This great grand final rivalry never wavers, and once again this promises to be a cracking premiership decider between two dominant clubs of the past decade.
I think Mulbring’s consistency and unprecedented dominance throughout this year’s competition will be enough for them to scrape home for an undefeated season and back to back titles.