University of Queensland will head into this weekend’s two-day semi-finals full of confidence after finishing in pole position in the Bulls Masters First Grade Cam Battersby Cup.
On the final day of round action on Saturday, Gold Coast held off a Charlie Hemphrey-inspired Sandgate-Redcliffe to record a 28-run victory and confirm a fourth-place finals berth, leading to a semi-final showdown with University at WEP Harris Oval.
Valley lost in a thrilling upset chasing 301 at home against last-placed Toombul, falling 17 runs short and opening the door for the Dolphins to shore up a finals spot after Hemphrey’s sublime 118 wasn’t enough for the Gators to chase 276.
Ipswich/Logan’s clash with the Sunshine Coast was drawn after only 11 overs of play was possible, enough to secure the Hornets second place over a fast-finishing Western Suburbs, who secured an outright victory over Redlands.
Wynnum-Manly batsman Corey Hunter hit the second highest Premier Grade score in the club's history, with his 212 not out a highlight in a high-scoring game against Norths at Bill Albury Oval. Wynnum amassed 7-432 with Norths responding with 9-362 as Jason Floros almost bowled his side to victory claiming 5-109 from 28 overs. Will Crook also snapped up 4-82, with Vikings keeper Tom Healy top-scoring for his side with 84.
Bulls Masters First Grade Semi-Final Previews
University of Queensland v Gold Coast at WEP Harris Oval
The Students will look to continue their finals dominance of seasons past with the bat, but a Dolphins attack including captain Matt Kuhnemann, Xavier Bartlett, Josh Kann, Liam Hope-Shackley and surprise packet Hugo Burdon could pose some problems.
How this attack fares against a quality batting line-up (Jack Clayton, Dom Michael, Jano Coetzee, Michael Philipson, Mitch Fry etc.) will decide who plays off for silverware the following weekend.
Clayton’s 877 runs at 62.64 (four centuries) makes him the dangerman for the Dolphins, who will be looking to make early inroads with Kann and Queensland Bulls quick Bartlett.
Ipswich/Logan v Western Suburbs at Baxter Oval
The Hornets will be out to make sure their fairy-tale rise to second place continues for at least another week with a strong home contingent expected to be out in support for their home semi-final.
With an even spread of contributors with the bat, spearheaded by experienced captain Anthony Wilson’s 806 runs at 42.42, a lot will fall on fast bowlers Sam Doggett (46 wickets) and Harrison Wood (37) to get through the Wests batting unit.
Recent Toyota Second XI paceman Doggett made 43 and took one wicket for Wests in their 2016-17 premiership win over University before moving to Ipswich/Logan this season.
In response, the Bulldogs also boast a quality pace battery led by Blake Edwards (50 wickets at 15.38), ably supported by Ryan Tazelaar (33), Steven McGiffin (29) and Aidan Watterson (27).
Captain and spinner Paddy Dooley’s 36 wickets at 19.17 will also provide a serious challenge, while seven Bulldogs batsmen have posted at least three 50+ scores this season to underline their depth.
University also claimed the Alan Pettigrew Shield in Second Grade, setting up a clash with South Brisbane at St Lucia.
Northern Suburbs jumped over South Brisbane (who lost to University) into second place and a home semi-final as the Vikings’ quest for a third consecutive two-day premiership burns brightly. They will take on Gold Coast.
Katherine Raymont Shield
The Katherine Raymont Shield will be decided over a bumper Finals weekend this week.
Minor premiers Gold Coast will take on Ipswich/Logan Hornets on Saturday at Robina while Sandgate-Redcliffe take on Wests.
The Final on Sunday at Allan Border Field will coincide with a celebration to recognise 90 years of Women's Cricket in Queensland.