17 March 2016
Hopes Exits As Bulls Go Down
MyfootDr Queensland Bulls legend James Hopes has played his final match in his treasured baggy maroon cap. The former skipper and state legend provided teammates with a final glimpse of what he has provided Queensland Cricket for nearly 15 years of service after an entertaining 45 runs from 57 balls during the Bulls second innings and what was his final knock at the Gabba during his side's Sheffield Shield loss to Western Australia. In nostalgic fashion he also combined with longtime teammate and friend Chris Hartley for a 75-run stand to give the Bulls a glimmer of hope in a game dominated by the Warriors, but when the latter fell with QLD still trailing by 21, it seemed the inevitable was near. The Bulls' last three wickets fell for just 15 runs, handing WA an innings-and-six-run victory. It was a disappointing end for the young Queensland side who had shown brilliant form after the Big Bash League break to get within one win of making their first final since 2012-13. Instead they will now finish the Sheffield Shield season in third or fourth position depending on the result of the New South Wales and Victoria game. Earlier in the day Hopes capped off his third consecutive season as Queensland's leading Sheffield Shield wicket taker, on the way taking his 300th career first-class scalp. Chris Lynn also provided fans at the ground with some BBL style hitting, blasting 80 runs from 46 balls, but the highlights were unfortunately few and far between. Hopes received a guard of honour at the close of play and will exit the game as one of the state's legends after playing over 100 first-class and one-day matches for the Bulls, including captaining the side to one Sheffield Shield and two one-day titles. Despite the game's finish, Hopes said he feels he has left the team in a good space with a raft of young stars coming through and performing well this season. "It was a disappointing way for the team to finish the season. We've been playing some pretty good cricket and we've seen the development of some young players. I'm sure it will sink in over the next few days, but after bowling 20 overs yesterday I'm pretty sure I've made the right decision. "I think I'll look back in how may years and feel fortunate I got to play with a couple of these guys in the first year of their careers. Guys like Sam Heazlett are going to be sensational players in a few years." Hopes plans to stay involved with the Bulls in a coaching or mentoring role.