Ed Cowan, the leading run scorer in Sheffield Shield cricket this season, will return for Sydney University during the McDonald's NSW Premier Cricket Semi-Final weekend.
The first Semi-Final pits Minor Premiers Sydney University against Parramatta at Sydney University Oval. It is to be the first time these two sides are to meet in a Semi-Final, and the first time Parramatta has been in a Semi-Final since the 1993-1994 season.
The second Semi-Final will see second-placed Gordon meet third-placed Bankstown.
Cowan has been in irresistible touch for the Blues, pushing close to 1,000 runs for the season including three centuries and five fifties.
The students will be led by Nick Larkin, who was in the Blues squad for the last Shield match against Western Australia in Perth but did not make the final XI.
Larkin has been in good Premier Cricket form, scoring 975 runs @69.60 in all formats with four centuries (including a double century earlier on in the season).
Sydney Uni’s formidable batting line-up also contains fellow Blues squad member Ryan Carters and leading Premier Cricket veteran Greg Mail.
One player to keep an eye on for the home side is young leg spinner Devlin Malone.
Malone has shown his ability to turn the ball and create mistakes from the batsmen, capturing 41 wickets in all First Grade formats.
Parramatta's linchpin with the ball will be opening bowler Ben Martin while Blues seamer Sean Abbott, who was listed to play, has pulled out with an ankle injury.
Earlier in the season Martin took a 10-wicket haul against St George that recorded a vital win for Parramatta, claiming 6-22 and 4-49.
He continued that rich vein of form until the end of the regular season, finishing with 42 wickets in all formats at an average of less than 20.
Martin will be hope to replicate his last outing against Sydney University when he took 6-89.
Last Meeting: Sydney University 8-296 declared (D Mortimer 85, H Kerr 42no, B Martin 6-89) beat Parramatta 130 (W Affleck 29, D Malone 3-47, A May 2-5) by 166 runs at Sydney University Oval.
Sydney University: Nicholas Larkin (c), Will Hay, Ed Cowan, Ryan Carters, Damien Mortimer, Gregory Mail, Liam Robertson, Thomas Rogers, Timothy Ley, Devlin Malone, Ben Joy, Hayden Kerr.
Parramatta: Nicholas Bertus (c), Brenton Cherry, William Affleck, Trent Crittenden, Scott Copperfield, Ben Martin, Ben Abbott, Timothy Ward, Mohammad Emran, Owen Simonsen, Adam Turrell, Shane Cassel, Bradley Taylor, Sean Abbott.
Umpires: Gerard Abood & Greg Davidson.
Semi-Final: Gordon v Bankstown.
Gordon was one of just two teams that got on the field last week and made its performance count with a 88-run defeat of Sydney. Elliot Richtor was again in the thick of the action collecting three wickets whilst fellow paceman Matthew Junk collected figures of 4-29.
Bankstown on the other hand qualified for the Semi-Final after its match against Parramatta was rained out.
Second-placed Gordon lost just three times all season whilst Bankstown finished its campaign with nine victories.
Gordon will once again heavily rely on the strength of its batting and in particular Captain Steve Colley who has dispatched over 600 runs during the season in all formats.
With regular support from Richtor and opening batsman Axel Cahlin, who has scored more than 550 runs, Gordon will be hoping for more of the same this weekend.
Its bowlers have been in good form all season led by Junk, who has collected figures of 7-58 in his last two innings.
Despite missing English import Mason Crane, the home side still has plenty of quality to trouble the Bankstown batsman.
Unfortunately for Gordon opening bowler Charlie Stobo is out after injuring his shoulder while surfing. Stobo made a spectacular debut for the Blues against South Australia earlier this season, claiming seven wickets.
Bankstown will attempt to make it back to back Finals after lifting the Belvidere Cup last season.
It has been led this season by run machine Phillip Wells (871 runs @43.60 including three centuries) and Mitch Brown (754 runs @39.70).
Both these sides played in a Semi-Final during the 1993-1994 season, where Bankstown recorded a victory on first innings to make the final, which it went on to win.
Last Meeting: Gordon 297 (A Cahlin 135, E Richtor 57, N McAndrew 3-37) beat Bankstown 210 (K White 73, P Wells 33, M Junk 3-17, C Stobo 3-60) and 2-79 (M Brown 34no) by 87 runs at Jensen Park.
Gordon: Steve Colley (c), Cameron Eccles, Axel Cahlin, Elliot Richtor, Tym Crawford, Ashley Doolan, Daniel Smith, Joshua Doyle, James Kennedy, Matthew Junk, Daniel Stickland.
Bankstown: Jarrad Burke (c), Philip Wells, Luke Reece, Nathan McAndrew, Mitchell Phelps, Mitch Brown, Kerrod White, Michael Stretton, Daniel Solway, Brendan Smith, Thomas Sowden, Chris Ridley.
Umpires: Darren Goodger & Anthony Wilds.