Sport

Brotherly love facing big test

Alex Cumming plays referee as sons Kevin (left) and Craig prepare for a friendly battle in today’s Ipswich first division cricket grand final.
Alex Cumming plays referee as sons Kevin (left) and Craig prepare for a friendly battle in today’s Ipswich first division cricket grand final. Sarah Harvey

BLOOD runs thicker than water but not during the four days of the Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association Division One grand final.

For the next two weekends at Baxter Oval, Cumming brothers Craig and Kevin will leave family loyalties aside and try to destroy each - in the sporting sense.

Kevin has overcome an ankle injury to resume his place as Northsiders' pace spearhead and Taipans captain Craig is happy to be lining up against him.

"I'd like to play them at full strength," Craig said.

"I seem to handle Kev a bit better than some, probably because I know him a bit better.

"I think it's more in my mind because he's my brother and I don't want to get out to him."

Craig knows well what it is that makes Kev such a dangerous prospect to face.

"He gets extra bounce off a good length," the Taipans all-rounder said. "With that left arm coming across you or the other one coming back with a good in-swinging yorker, it is difficult."

Craig's belief that he can pick his brother better than most has been slightly eroded.

"I used to but he got me out last time we played them with a slower ball," the 33-year-old said.

"It's always been there but he's never used it against me before."

However, there is unlikely to be any provocation between the brothers on the field, even when the game gets tense.

"I think we respect each other," Craig said.

"There might be a little niggle but nothing out of the ordinary."

Unlike the days in the backyard as kids. "Within two minutes, they'd be upstairs fighting," father Alex said.

Alex is a Scotsman who represented Ipswich and Queensland at football.

He got the boys into football but by their mid-teens it was apparent that cricket was the priority and dad tried to get on board.

"I played one game for Strollers and got two ducks," he said of his shortlived cricket career.

Since then he has been a devoted watcher of both sons.

"It's good to see them play each other," he said. "I'm going to be a winner and a loser."

Whatever happens on the field won't affect the relationship the brothers have off the field, with Kev ringing Craig for a chat about family on Monday.

"My daughter's got a Taipans shirt, so he said he'd got a little tiger (the Northsiders mascot) for her," Craig said.

The two have played together in a grand final for Strollers, but never against each other.

For Craig Cumming it has been a long road since he first came into senior cricket in Ipswich.

At that stage Strollers' top team was in Division Three.

He later went to Central Districts for a season to play Division One but was back at Strollers as soon as they were in the top grade.

Even then it was a battle most years against the likes of Northsiders, to whom Kev defected in search of a greater challenge, Laidley and Eastern Raiders.

But last year Craig's loyalty to his club, which merged with Eastern Raiders to form the Eastern Taipans, was rewarded with his first top grade grand final victory.

It gave the brothers one each, with Kev's Northsiders claiming the title a year before.

By Sunday next week, one of them will have a second title to boast about, while Alex will be sitting pretty with three.

 

Final line-ups

Eastern Taipans: Glen Lauchlan, Greg Jeffers, Dan Thompson, Craig Cumming (c), Paul Milne, Tyrone de Silva, Greig Cumming, Umhar Samsudeen, Mark Lehmann, Chris Smith, Dan Packer.

Northsiders: Tim Clarke, Dan Green, Aaron Nugter, David Lyons, Marcus Hillier (c), Michael Hillier, Nathan Hooper, Rob Hillier, Ryan Marschke, Kev Cumming, Scott McCoombes.

Topics:  cricket, grand final, ipswich, west moreton


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