Premier Race Heats Up

As the 2023-24 KFC Queensland Premier Cricket competition closes in on the finals, the stakes are heating up for men's and women's teams throughout the grades. CAM VELLACOTT looks at the conclusion of round 14 as the season approaches its zenith.

Sat 3 Feb Wrap

With two rounds of the men’s First Grade competition, all eyes are on the top four sides as they battle for their final placings.

History is strongly in favour of only the top two sides winning it all come the final Sunday. With a mere seven points separating Valley, Norths and the Gold Coast, all three are well in the hunt to join the almost certain minor premiers Ipswich, which will chase their second title of the summer after claiming the KFC T20 Max competition at the start of the season (pictured above).

Gold Coast and Valley played out a finals like preview on Peter Easton Oval, each sides eager to test one another out. Despite the Gold Coast posting an imposing 336, Valley had a number of in form players including state talents Max Bryant and Jack Wildermuth. 

The first batter to depart for Valley was Josh Neill (30 off 101), who unfortunately left the field with a concussion. Bryant (56 off 49) then accelerated the innings before falling to Jackson Smith (2/20), Valley 2/138. Jack Wildermuth (72 off 105) and Dylan McLachlan (43 off 121) saw Valley pass the 200 mark, however sustained pressure from the Dolphins bowlers saw the run rate continue to climb. 

With just over an hour left to play, the match was seemingly headed to a draw. However, Lachlan Crump (1/21) managed to snare the big wicket of Wildermuth, opening the door to Matt Kuhnemann (2/63) to bowl to fresh batters. Kuhnemann struck, before part timer Callum Taylor (1/7) claimed a wicket in his two over spell. Opening bowler Matt Revis (3/78) returned, claiming the dangerous McLachlan for the seventh wicket, and concussion sub Andrew Gode for the ninth. 

With 7 overs remaining, numbers 10 and 11 Saxon Jeh and Joey Pratt sought to hold off a fast finishing Dolphins side. Taking it to the final over, the Coast had the bat surrounded with slips, short catchers and a leg slip as pacer Jackson Smith (2/20) looked to win it for his side. On the fourth ball of the over, Jeh put bat onto one that looked to be falling safe down the leg side until Matt Revis has plucked a one handed wonder at leg slip. Gold Coast Dolphins 336 defeat Valley 292. 

Ladder leaders Ipswich suffered their first defeat of the two day season against the Sunshine Coast on Saturday. Resuming 6/64 and chasing 188, it was always going to be a big ask for the rightly confident Ipswich outfit. The task became more difficult when batter Noah Emmerson was dismissed before a run was added to their score. Jem Ryan (48* off 99) tried his best for the Hornets, however seamer Chad Soper (4/47) and Tom Engelbrecht (2/19) proved too strong for the Ipswich tail. Sunshine Coast won on first innings 188 to Ipswich’s 156. The Scorchers made 1/113 in the second innings before stumps were called.

At Wynnum-Manly, Redlands star duo Sam Heazlett (155* off 204) and James Bazley (66 off 84) proved too strong in their classy batting display. Chasing 301, Redlands were 1/0 after losing opener Stephan Muller in the second over. However it only brought Heazlett to the crease who was eager to impress in a push for state cricket selection.

Redlands lost two quick wickets when Bazley and Drennan (0 off 10) departed, however Brian Sanders (77 off 93) proved a valuable partner to Heazlett as the passed the score for the loss of only four wickets. Redlands reached maximum points and declared 5/352. Wynnum-Manly finished their second innings 1/57 before stumps.

Toombul took home the chocolates in the local debry against Norths at Ken Mackay Oval. It was a familiar affair in the match which saw five former Norths players compete against their old club. Former Australian U19 player and Toombul opener Toby Snell (68 off 123) found some form and a season best score after an injury plagued season. However, the run chase was all centred around number three Lachlan Hearne (118 off 190). 

Coming off the back of a century for Queensland in a 2nd XI fixture, Hearne continued his form. The classy batter hit 11 boundaries and 2 maximums in his innings which saw Toombul from 1/56 to 7/268, passing Norths score of 262 in the process. It was Hearne’s third century of the summer, which includes a double century. He is no doubt pushing further into the frame of higher honours.

Toombul captain Dan Cranitch (48 off 33) provided some late fireworks to push Toombul to be all out 321. Will Prestidge (2/44) was the pick of the bowlers for Norths. Norths finished their second innings 1/62 when stumps were called.

Souths managed to chase down the University of Queensland’s 206 comfortably on Wep Harris Oval. After showing positive signs last season and making a T20 Grand Final, Souths have failed to replicate the same level of cricket to see sustained success this year. However, Saturday was a return to form. 

Lucky Peterson (76 off 124), Aryan Jain (73 off 101) and Sam Geyer (104* off 170) were each superb for their side. It was a breakthrough innings for former Queensland U19 all rounder Geyer. He sent four over the rope in an innings which should give the number five an enormous amount of confidence at that level.

University’s star U19 talent Brayden Meegama toiled hard for his side, sending down 24 overs for a return of 6/107. Meegama’s maiden First Grade five wicket haul is a real silver lining in what has been a tough season for the students.

Sandgate-Redcliffe trio Dan Seaton (120* off 183), Jackson Mills (48 off 41) and Steven Cawood (85 off 114) held off a Wests outfit chasing an outright victory. Teams shook hands after 60 overs, Wests first innings victors. 

The Katherine Raymont Shield finally avoided the weather, with four one-day matches played and some key performances delivered. There were victories to Wynnum-Manly (which beat Ipswich), University of Queensland (a high-scoring win over Valley), Wests and Sunshine Coast.

UQ piled on 8-330, with Laura Harris (69 from 43) setting the tone that saw nine batters reach double figures as the Valley attack battled to rein in the runs. Charli Knott (40), Tara Norris (46) and Anlo van Deventer (35) all scored freely. Valley made a solid fist of the chase, with Mikayla Hinkley's superb 93, Sianna Ginger (59) and Kira Holmes (42) doing their best as their side reached 8-267.

Wests leg-spinner Grace Parsons was eye-catching, taking 5-31 as they overcame Sandgate-Redcliffe, while the Scorchers completed a timely win over the Gold Coast. Wynnum-Manly's Ellie Johnston hit 59 not out as the Sea Eagles (0-74) overcame Ipswich (71), with Clodagh Ryall adding 3-10 to her season tally.

TOTW 3rd & 4th Feb

  1. Daniel Seaton, 120* (183), Sandgate-Redcliffe, Mens 1st Grade
  2. Mikayla Hinkley, 93 (106), Valley, Womens 1st Grade
  3. Lachlan Hearne, 118 (190), Toombul, Mens 1st Grade
  4. Sam Heazlett, 155* (204), Redlands, Mens 1st Grade
  5. Sam Geyer, 104* (170), South Brisbane, Mens 1st Grade
  6. Ellie Johnston, 59* (35), Wynnum-Manly, Womens 1st Grade
  7. Grace Parsons, 5/31 (10.0) & 25 (24), Western Suburbs, Womens 1st Grade
  8. Meg Mattam, 3/46 (8.2), Gold Coast, Womens 1st Grade
  9. Clodagh Ryall, 3/10 (6.4), Wynnum-Manly, Womens 1st Grade
  10. Chad Soper, 4/47 (21.0), Sunshine Coast, Mens 1st Grade
  11. Brayden Meegama, 6/107 (24.0), University of Queensland, Mens 1st Grade


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