University of Queensland, Western Suburbs, Valley and Gold Coast also won to set up a thrilling first weekend back in 2020 with six teams competing for four spots. An eye-watering clash between the only two undefeated teams, University of Queensland and the Sunshine Coast, awaits at Buderim’s Kerry Emery Oval when Premier Cricket returns on January 4, with the winner guaranteed a home semi-final on January 19. 

Sandgate-Redcliffe v Gold Coast (Trevor Hohns Field, Deagon)

Gators skipper Corey Barsby’s decision to bat first was disastrous personally for the former Queensland List A batsman, with current Bulls quick Xavier Bartlett proceeding to knock him over first ball of the match for a golden duck.

The early losses of Bryce Street and Lloyd Aspin saw the Gators in huge trouble at 3/13, before an unlikely 55-run union between Caden Sweeney and former ACT Second XI off-spinner Josh Connolly (batting in the unusual position of No. 5) found safety for the time being. However, after Sweeney’s dismissal, Josh Kann ran through the middle and lower order on his way to 3/23, meaning that despite some lusty blows from Connolly (5 sixes) on his way to a second First Grade half-century (63 off 53 balls) the Gators finished at 8/138. The Dolphins made short work of the run chase, makeshift opener Liam Hope-Shackley continuing his sparkling form this season with an unbeaten 69 from 44 balls.

The North Queensland product has scored 662 runs at 66.20 (with four centuries) across all formats, as well as taking 20 wickets at 21.85. He was well supported by Kann, who bashed 54 off 26 with 6 sixes. Their partnership of 101 saw the Gold Coast wrap up a comprehensive nine-wicket win in the 15th over.

Western Suburbs v Redlands (Graceville Park, Graceville)

Notable for the return of new Sydney Thunder recruit Brendan Doggett, the Bulldogs recovered from the early loss of veteran Steven Paulsen to post 7/144, the highlight being a rapid 75-run partnership for the second wicket between Brendan Smith (41 off 39) and Steven McGiffin (48 off 30, 2 sixes).

The duo ran hard between the wickets before opening the shoulders, but the slow nature of the Graceville wicket and three-pronged spin attack of Redlands saw the Tigers pull the game back to an even keel. Young off-spinning allrounder and current Australian U17 representative Jack Sinfield was the pick of the bowlers with 2/15 (4).

Doggett’s Premier Cricket return from a long injury layoff couldn’t have started any better, the paceman having Redlands opener Michael McEwan adjudged lbw with the first ball he bowled, before beating Queensland Second XI allrounder James Bazley’s swipe across the line to take out leg stump in his second over. Tigers captain and recent Second XI debutant Leigh Drennan provided his usual fight on the way to top-scoring with 38 from 28 balls.

Unfortunately, support was hard to find with only opener Liam Smith passing 20 as Drennan fell eighth man out with the score 109 as the Tigers finished with a respectable 9/123. Wests captain and left-arm orthodox spinner Paddy Dooley took the new ball and proved a real handful, finishing with 3/12 from four overs while Doggett impressed on return with 2/18.

Northern Suburbs v South Brisbane (Ian Healy Oval, Wavell Heights)

Norths compiled a monstrous 7/245 batting first, no thanks to a brilliant maiden First Grade century from Josh Brown, who hit 18 boundaries (including 12 sixes) and faced only 36 balls for his 108.

His 132-run opening partnership with Kendel Fleming lasted an incredulous 50 balls, before Fleming went on after Brown’s dismissal to 54 off 34 (4 fours, 3 sixes) while captain Nathan McSweeney contributed a rapid 36 off 20 (5 fours). After McSweeney’s dismissal at 3/208, the Souths bowling attack found some respite and fought back with some late wickets to stop what looked like a potential 300+ score, which has never been seen in the history of the Tom Veivers Cup.

Needing 12.25 an over from the get-go, the absolute flying start that the Magpies needed was snuffed out early, Cameron Gannon dismissing Jamie Eccles in the opening over before Connor Sully entered the fray for Norths. The young paceman celebrated his recent selection in the Australian U19 World Cup squad to compete in South Africa next month by knocking over Queensland Second XI opener Aryan Jain and Jake Cross in the space of three balls, leaving Souths 3/2. After conceding 71 runs from his four overs, No. 9 Brendan McNae then cut loose with the willow, blasting 47 from just 24 balls to continue a good season which has included a maiden First Grade century and two five-wicket hauls.

McNae contributed exactly half of South Brisbane’s final score of 94. Left-arm orthodox spinner Parth Patel led the Norths attack with 3/26, while Gannon and Sully both picked up 2/16.

Valley v Toombul (Peter Easton Oval, Ashgrove)

Queensland Bulls squad member Lachlan Pfeffer continued his consistent grade cricket form by batting through the innings to make an unbeaten 83 from 59 deliveries, while his opening partner, reigning Peter Burge Medallist Andrew Gode, blasted 69 from only 36 balls (8 fours, 4 sixes) in a belligerent 102-run opening stand.

Jack Beath then responded to his superb hundred last week against Norths by finishing the innings off (36 off 23, 3 sixes). Toombul mixed and matched throughout the innings with their bowling combinations, warhorse Ronan McDonald the best with 1/29 off his four overs as the Diehards compiled 2/209.

The Bulls’ chase was punctuated with seven single-figure scores, making the regular loss of wickets crucial to the ever-climbing required run rate. Jarryd Blake top-scored for the visitors with a hard-fought 53 from 44 balls, while Gode picked up 3/30. Chris Knight, Luke Feldman and Bill Kruip joined the skipper as multiple wicket-takers as Toombul were bowled out in the final over for 155.

Wynnum/Manly v University of Queensland (Bill Albury Oval, Tingalpa)

The Sea Eagles were sent in a sluggish track, and with former Bulls and Heat allrounder Jason Floros back in the sheds for a duck to leave Wynnum 2/8, an urgent fightback was required. With the Students typically unerring in line and length, it wasn’t until Steven Graham and Sam Bray took the long-handle late in the innings that a defendable score looked to be possible.

The pair both hit two sixes, with Graham unbeaten at innings end on 35, in a team score of 7/117. Uni’s use of five bowlers saw only one go at better than a run-a-ball, with Nick Sale, Will Sanders and Michael Philipson all taking two wickets apiece. Philipson then got the Students off to a flyer with 50 off 31 balls before being trapped lbw by Floros.

Despite always being in front of the run rate, the Sea Eagles chipped away and after the in-form Jack Carty fell for 23, the score was 4/93 and Wynnum/Manly were half a chance. Fortunately for the Students, wicketkeeper Mitchell Fry and veteran Ben Davis combined for an unbeaten stand to get home in the 18th over, meaning University of Queensland remain undefeated in their quest for the Tom Veivers Cup as they sit in pole position with the Sunshine Coast.

Ipswich/Logan v Sunshine Coast (Baxter Oval, Amberly)

Another brilliant performance from 2017/18 Peter Burge Medalist Alecz Day saw the Sunshine Coast compile a daunting 5/193 in sweltering conditions at Baxter Oval.

The allrounder belted a dazzling 101 from only 51 balls (7 fours, 8 sixes) as calls for him to be added as a Brisbane Heat replacement player only continue to intensify. The former Wellington player’s first century of the season saw him go past 400 runs across all formats at an average of 41.20, along with 29 wickets at 24.21.

Glamorgan batsman Nick Selman spent quality time in the middle for 34 off 25 during his partnership with Day, before the Hornets slowed the game down with spinners Bryn Llewellyn, Jack Wood and Will Trigar, nullifying Day’s major contribution to what looked a 200+ score. After two early wickets, a quickfire 55 from Dan Wilson in partnership with Lachlan Prince (35 off 29) got the Hornets back on track. However, the loss of Prince at 3/107 sparked a mini-collapse of 5/18, as the Scorchers turned up the heat thanks to some tight bowling from Kobi Griggs and Sam Gardiner through the middle. Wicketkeeper Dan Lyons tried to provide a spark by hitting an unbeaten 32 from only 19 balls, but it was a case of too little, too late as the impressive Scorchers restricted the Hornets to 9/164.