McDonald's Men's Premier Cricket Qualifying Finals this weekend
Date of Event NSW Premier Cricket: Tue Mar 23, 2021 6:50AM
Belvidere Cup minor premiers, Sydney, play St George in the first Qualifying Final this weekend // Photo - Ian Bird.

Adam Lucius

The McDonald's Men's Premier Cricket competition has reached the business end of the season, with the next three weekends deciding the fate of those teams left standing at the end of 15 rounds.

It all starts with the qualifying finals this weekend, with the three winners joining the highest-ranked loser in the semi-finals.

The forecast isn’t great but hopefully it will clear long enough to get some cricket in. In the event of rain, the top four advance.

Here's how the three games look and what the respective captains are thinking:

Sydney (1) v St George (6) at Drummoyne Oval

Sydney beat St George easily when the teams last met in a one-dayer back in round 12.

The Tigers made 7-313 and bowled the Dragons out for a paltry 92.

A fair bit has changed since that day.

Sydney clinched the minor premiership in the final overs of the regular season after beating Randwick-Petersham. 

The Saints looked done and dusted heading into the last round.

They sat ninth and needed to score 240 from 30 overs to grab a bonus point victory while praying sixth-placed Gordon fell to Easts.

Both results fell their way, setting up a must-win clash with the Tigers.  

Matt Rodgers (Syd) says: "Getting the minor premiership was a little bonus but St George will be a tough game. They’ve got dangerous players with bat and ball, so it will be a good match-up."

Nick Stapleton (St George) says: "The semis are a different competition so what went before doesn't matter. We are excited and ready to go. They are dangerous across the park and all we are concerned about is playing consistent cricket and the rest will take care of itself."

Sydney Uni (2) v Northern District (5) at University Oval

Sydney University don't need any reminders on how dangerous this NDs side is.

Back in round six, the Students made 9-313 (dec) and only just snuck home as the Rangers reached 307 in reply.

Uni keeper-batsman Tim Cummins scored a ton while Hayden Kerr made a fighting 57, with leg-spinner Toby Gray picking up four wickets.

Corey Miller, Ben Davis and Scott Rodgie all made half-centuries as NDs fell just short.

Liam Robertson (SU) says: "We are really looking forward to the finals kicking off. Our red ball form this year has been really good. We haven't lost so will be looking to build on that momentum. NDs have a long and quality batting line-up which we need to be wary of. It was a very close contest the last time we met them." 

Ben Davis (NDs) says: "The weather is a concern but we go into the weekend full of confidence. They have quality players throughout their side and are very experienced in finals cricket. We have been playing really good cricket for a while and had a really close game with Uni the last time we played them. "

Manly-Warringah (3) v Fairfield-Liverpool (4) at Manly Oval

Manly is back in the finals for the first time since it lifted the Belvidere Cup in 2014/15, while you've got to go back to 2005/6 for the Lions' last premiership win.

The Waratahs thrashed Fairfield-Liverpool in the qualifying finals of the First Grade Limited-Overs Cup in their only meeting this year, but there is little between the clubs.

Manly will be without representative all-rounder Jack Edwards but hope to have NSW batsman Ollie Davies back from Marsh Cup one-day duty.

Arjun Nair will line-up for the visitors and Liam Hatcher is expected to play after returning from Tasmania with the Blues.    

Jay Lenton (MW) says: "It's great to be back in the finals after so long and we're excited about what lies ahead. We've been hit with a few injuries but our depth has carried us for most of the year and will do so againFairfield is a very good side, with Liam Hatcher and the ever-reliable Jarrad Burke the obvious dangers."   

Jarrad Burke (FL) says: "They have a team full of danger players and will be hard to beat. It's going to be hard work with the weather but the boys are ready to go."

All three finals will be live streamed: click here

Schedule and teams: click here

Last updated: Tuesday March 23, 2021 7:07AM