Boost for Brothers after favoured Dogs stumble

Paul Milne ends down a delivery against the Eastern Taipans on Saturday. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times
Paul Milne ends down a delivery against the Eastern Taipans on Saturday. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times Rob Williams

BROTHERS have shattered the aura of invincibility surrounding Laidley.

In doing so, they have ensured the Blue Dogs will head into the semi-finals on the back of a loss, for only the second time this season.

Resuming at 5-31 on Saturday, the Blue Dogs had work to do to reel in Brothers' first innings 148.

It looked like they were in a hurry early when Chris Wilson hit Mukesh Sharma, the spin bowler who had put Laidley in their precarious position with four wickets late on day one, for four and six in his second over of the day.

But at the other end, fast bowler Mark Sharrad found his rhythm, having the dangerous Michael Sippel out caught behind for 16.

It was a rare failure for Sippel this summer.

Sippel's replacement Jason Cubit (0) was the last of Laidley's recognised batsmen but he also succumbed, caught behind off Sharrad, without troubling the scorers.

When Wilson (17) was out caught in close by Jacob Sarra, giving Sharma his fifth wicket for the innings, Laidley was all but gone.

A ninth wicket partnership of 42 between Ben Gibson and Craig Jesberg revived faint hope for Laidley.

"You're never real confident with them there," Brothers player Craig Mackay said.

"Jezza was looking really good.

"We weren't completely nervous but we weren't confident."

He needn't have feared, however, as spinner David Richardson broke the partnership, trapping Jesberg lbw with Laidley still 48 runs short.

The rain held out long enough for Sharma to claim his sixth wicket and wrap the game up for Brothers who moved into third place on the Premier League ladder.

"It makes it interesting," Mackay said of the competition ladder.

"It gives us the opportunity to play a home final."

First and second-placed Laidley and Northsiders both have byes in the final round.

If Brothers have a big win over Swifts in the final round, they could overtake Northsiders into second spot and earn themselves a home semi-final.

It could be crucial because if rain intervenes, the top two will progress to the grand final.

For Brothers veteran Mackay, the win against Laidley made a pleasant historical change.

"I can't remember the last time we beat Laidley," he said.

"It was for or five years ago."

The key this time was confidence.

"We believe in ourselves and are able to build pressure," Mackay said.

"We did to them what they usually did to us.

"Look at Alex Welsh. He's one of the best batters in the comp and he comes in and tries to cut the third ball he faces."

For Welsh it was his first loss playing for Laidley.

The arrival of first-class Indian cricketer Sharma has also helped Brothers' cause immensely, and not just for his six wickets against Laidley.

"Mukesh definitely helps with the batting side," Mackay said.

"We've got the confidence to bat around him.

"We were always a good bowling unit.

"Craig Cumming brings something different as a genuine all-rounder."

Topics:  brothers laidley blue dogs

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