Mariners claim minor premiership, skipper takes out Martin Baird Medal

Craig Simmons (far right) claimed a fourth Martin Baird Medal on Saturday night. Photo: Facebook/Rockingham-Mandurah District Cricket Club.
Craig Simmons (far right) claimed a fourth Martin Baird Medal on Saturday night. Photo: Facebook/Rockingham-Mandurah District Cricket Club.

Rockingham-Mandurah are the 2018/19 minor premiers after the final round of Western Australian Premier Cricket was washed out last Saturday.

The Mariners will host two first grade finals at Lark Hill in the next fortnight to try and qualify for the grand final at the WACA Ground on March 30 and 31.

The club also achieved its highest ever club championship finish of second place, just 80 points behind Perth.

To top these regular season achievements off, Rockingham-Mandurah will be represented in this weekend’s finals action by the second grade and under 15s teams.

The successful year made for a buoyant mood at the club's annual Martin Baird Medal night on Saturday, which saw club captain Craig Simmons named best male senior grade player for the fourth time.

It promised to be a high vote count and indeed it was with players across all grades posting multiple three vote maximum efforts.

Simmons’ stellar 2018/19 was duly rewarded with a fourth medal, but he was chased right to the finish line by Gloucestershire import James Bracey (19 votes), stalwart Ryan Done (18) and promising youngster Ryan O’Keeffe (17).

Last year’s winner Dane Ugle (14) started up where we left off, polling three maximums in the opening three rounds but it was Simmons who had the lead by the halfway mark on 11 votes. 

Bracey continued to snap at Simmons’ heels and the English left-hander tied up with his skipper and Ugle after polling three votes for a vital half-century against Melville in round 11.

He finished his Australian campaign with 656 runs from 13 matches, notching up seven half-centuries at an average of 43.73.

Done’s third place came on the back of 41 wickets at 18.15, ten victims better than anyone else in the second grade competition, claiming four bags of five wickets or more and best figures of 8/68 against Joondalup in round 14.

Simmons was a team-mate of Baird, who passed in 2002, in the club’s inaugural first grade side in 2000/01, and in his acceptance speech honoured the legacy of the popular clubman as the Mariners look to produce the goods over the next three weeks and beyond.

Rockingham-Mandurah’s slate of week one finals action sees the first grade host sixth-placed Melville at Lark Hill on Saturday and Sunday.