Sport

Defeat to ACT Country stumps Queensland skipper O'Connell

Ben O'Connell.
Ben O'Connell. Sarah Harvey

IT WILL take time for Ben O'Connell to get over his second stint as Queensland Country captain.

The Ipswich-based 27-year-old led Queensland to third place at the Australian Country Championships at Bundaberg.

Queensland lost only two games but it was the manner of the losses that irked the skipper.

They came in their only two-day games, against NSW and ACT Country.

Losing to NSW was no embarrassment, as the defending champions went through the tournament undefeated.

But ACT Country finished bottom of the table with just the one win, over Queensland.

"I'm a bit disappointed," O'Connell said.

"I think we just couldn't convert our game and game plan to two-day cricket."

Against NSW the Queensland batting order failed to fire.

Against ACT the Queensland bowlers managed just seven wickets as ACT racked up 363 runs.

"It was a lack of patience with bat and ball," O'Connell said. "Guys playing silly shots and getting out at times they shouldn't have. And our bowlers putting the ball where they shouldn't."

Last year Queensland, with a new-look squad, finished third.

With much the same team this time, hopes were high for an improved performance.

"For the guys there, it hurt a lot," O'Connell said.

"We are confident in our one-day and Twenty20 form.

"On our day we can match anyone.

"We had one bad session against NSW and they stuck it to us. We came back pretty hard at them and took a lot of wickets. It's a matter of getting consistent over a length of time.

"The balance of our team was right. It was just a matter of executing on game day."

O'Connell hopes that consistency might be found by next year's carnival.

"Time and experience," he said, when asked what it would take.

"And a bit of reflection."

Time is what O'Connell needs before thinking too much about the prospect of captaining the team for a third successive campaign.

The Central Districts all-rounder performed below his own expectations this time.

"I was a bit disappointed I didn't make that many runs," O'Connell said.

"I was just finding ways to get out. Hitting balls straight to fielders. I'm not really thinking about next year at the moment. I need a bit of time for it to settle."

Country ladder

  • NSW 59.54
  • Victoria 47.50
  • Queensland 42.85
  • East Asia Pacific 38.74
  • South Australia 31.41
  • Northern Territory 29.87
  • Western Australia 28.27
  • ACT 26.13

Topics:  australian country cricket championships, ben o'connell, queensland country cricket


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