LAIDLEY'S position at the head of the Ipswich Premier League appears near impregnable.
Already more than 30 points clear of second-placed Central Districts heading into round five, Laidley's defeat of Northsiders and Centrals' loss to Swifts has them with one foot in the finals door more than a month before Christmas.
The game against Northsiders at Jensen Oval was reduced to 32 overs per innings but was stopped eight overs short due to bad light.
In the end, it was Laidley's talisman Mick Sippel who made the difference, hitting 91 not out.
"We got beaten by Mick Sippel," Northsiders captain Paul Milne said.
"He batted really well and made it out of reach for us."
Sippel helped Laidley reach an imposing 3-185 from their allotted overs, with good help from Jason Cubit (35 not out).
Both had their share of good fortune along the way.
"Cubit got bowled off a no-ball," Milne said.
"I dropped a catch I probably wouldn't drop again.
"Mick got dropped a couple of times at long-off.
"We helped him out a bit but he batted well."
With the ball Northsiders were well served by the selectively retired Michael Hillier, filling in for a number of absent first choice regulars.
"Mick Hillier bowled very well," Milne said.
"Hopefully I can entice him to play a few more one-day games for us.
"He really pushes through his overs quickly and creates a bit of pressure.
"In the last over, Mick (Sippel) got on to him a bit but he bowled well."
Northsiders had a mountain to climb but began their run chase optimistically.
"At Bernie Board (Jensen Oval) it's gettable," Milne said of the Laidley total.
The Tigers made a good start to the run chase, with openers Brendan Forwood (17) and Tim Wichura (33) putting on 50 for the first wicket.
"We got a good start but then lost wickets in a clump," Milne said.
"We lost four in a row.
"We had spoken about building partnerships.
"When you lose wickets quickly, it chews up the overs and we were struggling from there."
Matthew Dean was the chief destroyer for the Blue Dogs, claiming 4-37.
Marcus Hillier (33) anchored a middle-order revival of sorts for the Tigers but when bad light intervened, Laidley was deservedly declared the winner.
Despite the loss and difficult playing conditions, Milne was able to take some positives from the match.
"We bowled a lot better than we had last game against Centrals," he said.
"And we batted okay.
"Guys got out trying to chase runs and we hadn't played for three weeks."
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