BDCA Grand finalist: GOLDEN SQUARE

THE SEASON: Golden Square was the dominant side of the home and away season, finishing 17 points clear on top of the ladder.

Square didn’t lose its first game until the final round and had the minor premiership as good as sewn up at the Christmas-New Year break.

They weren’t as dominant within games as a 12-1 record may suggest, but they constantly found ways to win on the back of even team efforts and everyone playing a role, which has been the theme when talking about Golden Square this season.

PREMIERSHIP HISTORY: Golden Square has won 15 first XI flags - 1939, 1941, 1944, 1945, 1947, 1951, 1953,  1961, 1968, 1974,  1996, 1997, 1998, 1999,  2009.

THE BATTING: Has been solid all season with seven players having scored at least 237 runs, although, coach Scott Johnson (451 runs) is the only batsman to have gone on and scored a ton.

The patient Johnson has been his typical consistent self with 451 runs at the top of the order, while his fellow opener John Lalor (237) has averaged 33.9 since coming into the side in round eight.

If they can lay a solid opening foundation like they have so often since joining forces at the top of the order, the likes of captain Tim Wood (424), Grant Connelly (337) and Scott Trollope (248) are all capable of scoring quickly and breaking the game open.

Jason Johnson (398) has had his best season with the bat, while talented18-year-old Jake Higgins (275) has the BDCA’s best batting average of 91.7.

The depth in the batting is shown in all-rounder Liam Smith (126) - who has a first XI 97 not out to his name - will most likely bat at No.8.

Golden Square has only batted second twice in its 14 games.

THE BOWLING: Is there a more under-rated bowler in the BDCA than Luke Baird?

Baird has had a brilliant season for Square, capturing 31 wickets and taking at least two scalps 10 of the 13 times he has bowled.

Paceman Darren Clutton (16 wickets) has endured an interrupted season, but looms as a genuine match-winner, while veteran Grant Connelly (18) will consistently put the ball on a good line and length.

Golden Square is also blessed with three spin options in Scott Johnson (14), Jamie Bysouth (12) and Liam Smith (7) to mix up the attack, particularly if the QEO wicket turns.

X-FACTOR: Darren Clutton - the left-arm speedster produced one of the spells of the season against Bendigo United in round six.

With a score of just 149 to defend, Clutton ripped through the Bendigo United top-order, ending day one with 5-31.

Matt Pinniger, Heath Behrens, Ben Gunn and Bryan Vance who were among Clutton’s wickets in that brilliant spell certainly need no reminding of just what he’s capable of when he’s fit and firing.

THE MAN IN CHARGE: “We’ve put ourselves in this position through playing good, consistent cricket.

“Everything we’ve done to this point is irrelevant now. It’s all about the biggest game of the year and making sure we’re ready to play this weekend.

“We’ve got blokes all through the 11 who can come in and contribute, which is what we’ll be looking for.

“Golden Square and Bendigo United are two very proud and successful clubs. When two clubs like that come together it’s always a fierce battle and it will be again this weekend.” – Tim Wood (captain).

WHY THEY CAN WIN: Put simply - you don’t fluke finishing 17 points clear on top of the ladder.

Only losing one of their 14 games, Golden Square has clearly done a hell of a lot right this season to create this weekend’s grand final opportunity.

Aside from the obvious depth of talent with bat and ball you need to make a grand final, the hallmark of Golden Square this season has been a never-say-die fighting spirit that if they can produce it again will keep them in the game all weekend. - Luke West

SEASON STATISTICS

BATTING:

Scott Johnson 

Runs: 451 HS: 106 Avr: 32.2

Tim Wood ©

Runs: 424 HS: 82 Avr: 32.6

Jason Johnson

Runs: 398 HS: 56 Avr: 39.8

Grant Connelly

Runs: 337 HS: 86 Avr: 28.1

Jake Higgins

Runs: 275 HS: 88* Avr: 91.7

Scott Trollope

Runs: 248 HS: 70 Avr: 19.1

John Lalor

Runs: 237 HS: 79 Avr: 33.9

Liam Smith

Runs: 126 HS: 41 Avr: 15.8

Luke Baird

Runs: 83 HS: 35 Avr: 20.8

Jamie Bysouth

Runs: 65 HS: 29 Avr: 16.3

Darren Clutton

Runs: 8 HS: 4  Avr: 2.0

BOWLING

Luke Baird

Wkts: 31 BB: 4-27 Avr: 16.9 ER: 3.0

Grant Connelly

Wkts: 18  BB: 4-20 Avr: 15.8 ER: 3.1

Darren Clutton

Wkts: 16 BB: 5-67 Avr: 19.1 ER: 2.7

Scott Johnson

Wkts: 14 BB: 6-33 Avr: 19.9 ER: 2.4

Jamie Bysouth

Wkts: 12 BB: 3-41 Avr: 24.9 ER: 3.3

Liam Smith

Wkts: 10 BB: 5-31 Avr: 18.9 ER: 2.4

Scott Trollope

Wkts: 0 BB: 0-0 Avr: NA ER: 5.2

John Lalor

Wkts: 0 BB: 0-7 Avr: NA ER: 1.8

PATH TO THE GRAND FINAL:

Rd 1: 4-192 d Kangaroo Flat 8-175

Grant Connelly 86, Luke Baird 2-34

Rd 2: 6-241 d Sandhurst 9-201

Scott Johnson 106, Luke Baird 3-33.

Rd 3: 8-283 d Huntly-North 179

Scott Johnson 65, Liam Smith 5-31

Rd 4: 5-192 d White Hills 162

Grant Connelly 40, Darren Clutton 3-48

Rd 5: 6-214 d Eaglehawk 128

Scott Johnson 45 and 6-33

Rd 6: 149 d Bendigo United 139

Tim Wood 66, Darren Clutton 5-67

Rd 7: 199 d Bendigo 140

Jake Higgins 73*, Luke Baird 4-27

Rd 8: 7-250 d Strathfieldsaye 129

Tim Wood 80, Luke Baird 4-37

Rd 9: 6-254 d Strathdale 8-235

Scott Trollope 70, Luke Baird 3-41

Rd 10: 289 d Sandhurst 236

David Blume 57, Grant Connelly 3-29

Rd 11: 5-139 d Kangaroo Flat 134

Jason Johnson 43*, Luke Baird 3-38

Rd 12: 7-306 d Strathfieldsaye 8-292

Tim Wood 82, Grant Connelly 3-75

Rd 13: 200 lt Strathdale 8-266

Scott Johnson 49, Darren Clutton 4-51

Semi: 239 dr Eaglehawk 0-0

Jake Higgins 88*, Liam Smith 33

KEY STAT ANALYSIS

RECORD 12-1-1

TOSS WON 8

BAT 1ST RECORD 10-1-1

BAT 2ND RECORD 2-0

RUNS PER WICKET 28.8

RUNS AGST PER WICKET 19.9

100’S 1

50’S 16

100 PARTNERSHIP 5

50 PARTNERSHIP 14

5 WICKETS + INNINGS 3

EXTRAS AGST 169

ECON RATE 2.95

MAIDEN OVER % 28.3%

100’S AGAINST 1

50’S AGAINST 5

100 PARTNERSHIP AGAINST 2

50 PARTNERSHIP AGAINST 8

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