By Sunday evening the BDCA grand finalists for season 2021-22 will be known.
The winner of Saturday's second semi-final between Strathdale-Maristians and Strathfieldsaye will advance directly to the grand final on March 26.
The loser gets another chance and hosts Sunday's preliminary final against the winner of Saturday's first semi-final between Bendigo United and Eaglehawk.
Strathdale, Strathfieldsaye and Bendigo United have been the top three teams for most of the season, while Eaglehawk snuck into the finals thanks to a lucky washout in round 14 and wins over Sandhurst and White Hills in rounds 15 and 16.
All that counts for little now. The team that performs best for two-straight weekends will be crowned premier.
Harry Trott Oval, Saturday, noon
The performance of two of the most aggressive openers in the BDCA will go a long way to determining the outcome of Saturday's cut-throat semi-final between Bendigo United and Eaglehawk at Harry Trott Oval.
Bendigo United skipper Clayton Holmes and Eaglehawk's Russell Stockdale have been instrumental in their respective side's successful campaigns to make the top four.
Fast starts with the bat are worth their weight in gold in the 45-over per side format and, when on song, Holmes and Stockdale are two of the most brutal batters in the opening 10 overs in the competition.
Holmes' 677 runs in 16 innings have come at an average of 45.13, while Stockdale has scored 489 runs in 12 hits at an average of 40.75.
From a consistency point of view, Holmes is more reliable. In the Redbacks' wins this season he is averaging 49.5 and in their defeats he averages 36.4.
320 of Stockdale's runs this season came in three innings. He has five scores of 10 or below and nine scores below 30.
The Redbacks and Hawks split their two home and away meetings this season and Stockdale didn't play in either match.
How Stockdale and the rest of the Borough top-order bat inside the first 15 overs is critical to their chances. Bendigo United's spinners have had a huge influence in the club's wins this season.
Jake Thrum (24 wickets), Will Trum (30 wickets), young leg-spinner Henry Edwards (12 wickets) and Zane Keighran (11 wickets) have combined for 77 wickets this season.
So often the Thrum brothers and Edwards have been able to come on and bowl through the middle overs and either take key wickets or suffocate the opposition.
If Eaglehawk's top-order can make a bright start then the Redbacks' spinners won't find it as easy to dictate terms through the middle overs.
Eaglehawk's bowling is not as consistent as the Redbacks - and that could be the difference.
How the Borough's spinners cope with the Redbacks targetting the short, straight boundaries will be crucial.
Season meetings: Round 3 - Eaglehawk 219 (A. West 80, N. Farley 45, K. Schepers 33, J. Thrum 4-27, M. Podosky 3-46) d Bendigo United 211 (S. Barrett 77, H. Donegan 50, R. Treloar 31, J. Thrum 30, A. Monro 3-26, N. Farley 3-34).
Round 12 - Bendigo United 5-152 (T. Starr 56, C. Holmes 37, A. Chisholm 2-36 d Eaglehawk 9-148 (A. Chisholm 46, W. Thrum 4-37, J. Thrum 2-19).
Tip: Bendigo United.
Teams: Bendigo United - Clayton Holmes (c), Jayden Templeton, Riley Treloar, Miggy Podosky, Zane Keighran, Will Thrum, Thomas Starr, Henry Edwards, Jake Thrum, Harrison Donegan, Stephen Barrett.
Eaglehawk - Nicholas Farley (c), Jeremy Brown, Joshua Williams, Aaron Monro, Anthony West, Nash Viney, Benjamin Williams, Angus Chisholm, Brendan Archbold, Tain Piercy, Russell Stockdale.
Read more: BDCA Team of the Week - round 16
Strathdale-Maristians v Strathfieldsaye
Bell Oval, Saturday, noon
Could Strathfieldsaye complete mission impossible and defeat Strathdale-Maristians at Bell Oval twice in the one season?
History says no, logic says no, but don't tell the Jets that.
They have the swagger and confidence you need to take the game up to a well-drilled team like Strathdale.
Most importantly, they don't fear the Suns. So many of Strathdale's semi-final opponents over the past decade have gone into the game hoping to win. Strathfieldsaye expects to win.
The key to the Jets' success this weekend is winning the toss, batting first and posting a competitive score.
Easier said than done, but if the Jets can post a competitive score they arguably have the best bowling attack to challenge the free-scoring Suns.
Strathdale players bat with freedom because they know they have the best batting depth in the competition and time and again they get out of trouble.
That batting freedom can generate opportunities for the opposition to take wickets. That's where the Jets have to pounce by holding catches and making the most of their opportunities.
While the Suns always bat with freedom, the same can't be said about Strathfieldsaye's talented, but fragile, batting line-up.
So much rests on the shoulders of opener Tim Wood to get his side off to a bright start.
When he makes a a good score, it takes the pressure off the middle-order and the Jets generally post a total they can defend.
If the Jets lose a couple of early wickets on Saturday then the pressure will mount quickly on the middle-order.
When it comes to preying on the vulnerabilities of an opponent, Strathdale is gold standard.
The final round win over Bendigo United was a sign of the Suns' strength and flexibility.
Skipper Cam Taylor opened the bowling with his leg-spinners - something we haven't seen much, if at all, over his stellar career.
The result - a five wicket haul for Taylor and a comfortable nine-wicket win for the Suns.
"It was a game against a fellow finalist where we didn't have much to lose, so it was worth a try,'' Taylor said of the change in plans with the bowling line-up.
"The whole season was about getting ourselves into a position where nothing impacts results from here on except ourselves.
"The real season starts now and, hopefully, we can have two more good games."
Season meetings: Round 3 - Strathdale-Maristians 7-244 (D. Clohesy 91, S. Johnston 46, G. Waldron 30, C. Taylor 30, S. Priyan 5-48) lt Strathfieldsaye 9-245 (T. Wood 59, C. Damith 46 not out, C. McCarty 39, P. Felmingham 32, J. Barri 3-26)
Round 12 - Strathfieldsaye 128 (C. Damith 57, S. Johnston 3-19, J. Pysing 3-38) lt Strathdale-Maristians 173 (D. Clohesy 46, C. Taylor 32, C. Damith 5-30, S. Priyan 3-27).
Teams: Strathdale-Maristians - Cameron Taylor (c), Grant Waldron, Linton Jacobs, Ben DeAraugo, Jack Neylon, Sam Johnston, Jack Pysing, Daniel Clohesy, James Barri, Matthew Wilkinson, James Vlaeminck.
Strathfieldsaye - Ben Devanny (c), Tim Wood, Pat Felmingham, Jack Stubbs, Jed Rodda, Callum McCarty, Campbell Love, Abe Sheahan, Darcy Hunter, Savith Priyan, Chathura Damith.
Strathdale-Maristians v Strathfieldsaye - noon Saturday at Bell Oval.
Bendigo United v Eaglehawk - noon Saturday at Harry Trott Oval.
Strathdale-Maristians v Bendigo United - noon Saturday at Weeroona Oval.
Golden Square v Kangaroo Flat - noon Saturday at Wade Street.
Strathfieldsaye v Bendigo United - 10am Saturday at Tannery Lane.
White Hills v Sandhurst - 10am Saturday at Scott Street.
Strathdale-Maristians v Bendigo - 5.30pm Friday at Canterbury Park.
Bendigo United v Strathfieldsaye - 5.30pm Friday at QEO.
Strathdale-Maristians v Sandhurst - 1.30pm Saturday at Beischer Park.
Bendigo United v Kangaroo Flat - 1.30pm Saturday at Shadforth Park.
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