Sunshine Coast and University remain undefeated in the hunt for T20 Glory
By Harry McNeilly
There was only one game in Sunday’s Kookaburra T20 round that saw a score of over 150, as bowlers dominated the majority of the action in round three.
That game was played between Northern Suburbs and Toombul District Cricket Club, with Norths winning the toss and electing to bat. Opening pair Kendall Fleming and Josh Brown put on 114 for the first wicket in front of a good crowd on Ken McKay Oval, Nundah. After Brown was dismissed for 53, Fleming continued his aggressive approach and blasted his way to 108 off 60 balls, including nine sixes and six fours.
Fleming received strong support from Brisbane Heat all-rounder Jack Prestwidge, who whacked 44 off 20 to take Norths to 233 from their 20 overs. Prestwidge made a successful return to bowling after a serious hamstring injury, claiming the wicket of Matt Renshaw for 11.
“We got off to a great start. We were 85 off five overs, but then we lost Lynny and myself in quick succession. Our number four (McNeilly) got run out at the non-strikers end by a straight drive that the bowler got a hand on, which wasn’t ideal. And from then on we were really struggling. We needed one of our top four to bat through the innings.” Toombul captain Preston White said after the game.
The wickets of White, Lynn and McNeilly in quick succession put a halt to Toombul’s momentum, as the run rate set by Norths began to climb rapidly. Toombul’s innings fell away towards the latter stages, with the hosts being bowled out for 163, making it two from three for their rivals, Norths.
Brisbane Heat recruit Ben Laughlin made his long-anticipated return to Queensland Premier Grade Cricket against Sandgate on Sunday, as he helped the Sunshine Coast register their third win in as many games. Laughlin’s figures of 1/15 off 4 overs helped restrict Sandgate to 130. In reply, the Sunshine Coast managed to chase Sandgate’s score for the loss of 7 wickets. Brisbane Heat leg-spinner Mitchel Swepson took a tidy 2/20 from his 4 overs, but young gun Angus Lovell’s knock of 49* off 45 balls proved to be the difference for the Sunshine Coast.
The Redland Tigers registered their first victory for the weekend, mainly due to strong performances from their Brisbane Heat stars. Wynnum Manly went into the game missing international recruit Tom Banton and was bowled out for 100. James Bazley was the leading wicket taker for Redlands, with figures of 3/20 off his 4 overs, while Heat fast bowler Josh Lalor chipped in, taking 1 for 18 from 4.
“Josh (Lalor) bowled incredibly well. I think in his first two overs, something like eight out of the 12 balls were plays and misses. He bowled with good pace and movement, and then obviously he has every single change up in the book that he used really effectively in his second spell.” Redlands skipper Leigh Drennan said.
The Tigers were then guided to victory with the bat by fellow Heat team-members Sam Heazlett (38 off 26) and keeper Jimmy Pierson (41 off 45).
Fresh from a solid tournament with the Queensland Under 19’s, youngster Hugo Burdon led his side to victory with a well constructed 50* from 37, as the Gold Coast chased down the 130 runs set by Ipswich Logan.
University played Wests in a blockbuster match-up on Wep Harris Oval (St Lucia). The students bowled first and were led by Brisbane Heat rookie Matt Willans, who played his first match back after his campaign with the QLD Under 19’s. Claiming all four of West’s top-order scalps, Willans finished with the impressive figures of 4 for 23. Steve McGiffin was the shining light for Wests, making 52 off 38 and boosting his side to 9/135. McGiffin also starred for Wests with the ball, taking 4/34 from his 4 overs. University's top four batsman all contributed in reply with scores ranging between 20 and 30, but wickets at regular intervals meant that Wests were always in with a chance. In what was a nail biting finish, the students managed to snatch victory from the very last ball of the match.
South Brisbane Cricket Club played host to Valleys in a match that saw Brisbane Heat fast bowlers Ben Cutting and Mark Steketee dominate with the ball. Batting first, Valleys managed to reach 6/149 thanks to a partnership of 57 between Nick Stevens (32 off 29) and Owen Lynch (25 off 21). Ben Cutting (3/16 from 4) took 3 crucial middle-order wickets, halting Valley’s momentum. Cutting received valuable support from Jamie Eccles, who took 2 wickets from 2 overs, whilst conceding only 4 runs. Souths got off to a solid start in reply, with opening batsman Aryan Jain striking 51 off 38 balls; however, a pair of run-outs and a devastating spell of bowling from Steketee (3/13 off 4) destroyed any hopes Souths had of chalking up their second win for the weekend. They finished with 8/116 from their 20 overs.
With Rivalry Round now complete, Sunshine Coast and University are the only teams to finish the weekend with three wins from three games. The Brisbane Heat players all enjoyed solid hit-outs, taking valuable momentum into this week’s first match of the Big Bash Season. The Twenty-twenty Premier Grade competition continues this weekend, with each club playing one more action-packed game before the Christmas Break.