Sport

Centrals lose the mind game

MENTAL GAME: Centrals batsman Ben O’Connell leaves a delivery against Laidley on Saturday. He wished his teammates had showed similar restraint.
MENTAL GAME: Centrals batsman Ben O’Connell leaves a delivery against Laidley on Saturday. He wished his teammates had showed similar restraint. Rob Williams

BEN O'Connell made an immediate impact on his return to the Ipswich Logan Premier League on Saturday.

But it wasn't enough to prevent Laidley beating Central Districts at Bichel Oval.

Fresh from captaining Queensland Country to third place at the Australian Country Championships in Bundaberg, O'Connell claimed two wickets (2-7) in his three overs and cracked 84 with the bat.

Unfortunately for O'Connell, his teammates could manage just 74 runs between them as Centrals (163) fell well short of Laidley's first innings 237.\

The loss cost Centrals third spot on the Premier League ladder, with Northsiders going past them following their win over Swifts.

Resuming on 7-219, two of the final three Laidley wickets fell to O'Connell's left-arm finger spin.

"It was a good way to get back into club cricket," O'Connell said.

"We spoke about our bowlers having done the hard work the week before but we still needed three more wickets.

"We didn't want to be back out there for an hour or two."

The quick removal of the Laidley tail left Centrals with a realistic chance of getting the runs, in 74 overs, if they were good enough.

"We thought 237 was very achievable," O'Connell said.

Few this season have been good enough against the Blue Dogs who reinforced their title favouritism with an impressive all-round bowling display.

Four bowlers claimed two wickets each, with the spin of Alex Welsh (2-9) and Jack Wood (2-18) complementing the pace quartet of Ben Gibson (2-30), Michael Sippel (2-39), Michael Topp (1-31) and Matthew Dean (0-33).

"They've got a pretty good bowling attack," Sippel said.

"They were making runs tough to come by.

"But in the back of our minds we knew that if we had wickets in hand and were more patient than their bowlers, the runs would start to come."

It wasn't to be, however, with Centrals batters unable to fulfil O'Connell's wishes.

"We lost wickets at the wrong time and lost back-to-back wickets with guys playing the wrong shots at the time," he said.

We lost wickets at the wrong time and lost back-to-back wickets with guys playing the wrong shots at the time.

O'Connell was disappointed his experienced teammates weren't able to master their impetuosity.

"It was just the mental side of batting that let us down," he said.

"Players going for big shots just before tea or after just coming to the crease.

"Laidley do a good job of putting pressure on the batsmen.

"They didn't seem to bowl long spells and with the two spinners it enabled them to give their quicks a rest. Some of our batters need to work on their mental game a bit more."

Centrals have to cool their heels for the next two weekends with the bye and hope Eastern Taipans don't spring an upset over Laidley, which could push Centrals out of the top four.

O'Connell admitted it was far from ideal, particularly as they play Alberton after the bye, which could well be a forfeit.

"Bowling-wise, the last couple of games we've performed excellently," he said.

"It would have been ideal to keep that momentum going.

"A couple of guys might put their hand up to play for Ipswich Logan for a round."

LADDER

Laidley - 117.32

Brothers - 85.17

Northsiders - 79.08

Central Districts - 62.56

Eastern Taipans - 50.06

Swifts - 36.26

Alberton - 6.74

Next week: Brothers v Northsiders at Ivor Marsden 2, Laidley v Eastern Taipans at Bichel Oval, Swifts v Alberton at Ivor Marsden 1, Central Disitricts - bye.

Topics:  ben o'connell, central districts, ipswich logan premier league, laidley blue dogs


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