MICHAEL Sippel is on track for one of the most dominant batting summers in Ipswich cricket history.
The Laidley maestro has scored 946 runs from 12 innings, with four centuries, at an average of 189.2.
He will surely pass his previous best summer with the bat, 2005-06 when he scored 984 runs at an average of 82.
That tally has only been bettered twice, both times by Brian May, with 1019 runs at 169.83 in 2007-08 and 1265 runs at 140.56 in 2006-07.
Sippel is 35 runs short of number five on the Ipswich all-time run-scorers list, Brothers' Kev Kinnane, but still 600 runs behind Redbank Plains' May, in fourth spot.
There are several possible contributing factors to Sippel's success this season.
Laidley's dominant bowling attack means Sippel (13 wickets at an average of 21 this summer) no longer has to shoulder the workload and is therefore fresher to bat.
Another is the arrival of club coach Craig Jesberg.
Sippel's batting dominance may also be a result of knowing there are others who can deliver with the bat if he fails.
"I'm just worrying about what I'm doing," Sippel said.
"Not making it too complicated.
"Sometimes it is just as simple as making sure bowlers don't get you out.
"You play each ball on its merit and wait for the right one.
"Once you get your eye in, you can cash in later on."
I'm just worrying about what I'm doing. Not making it too complicated. Sometimes it is just as simple as making sure bowlers don't get you out.
In the age of Twenty20 cricket, it might seem an old fashioned approach, by it is hard to argue with Sippel's success.
He insists his form is a result of taking his time at the crease.
"I don't like Twenty20," he said.
"I need a bit more time at the crease.
"I can't walk in and belt the ball around."
I don't like Twenty20. I need a bit more time at the crease. I can't walk in and belt the ball around.
He hasn't needed to.
Some of Sippel's superb form has to do with the educated eye of Jesberg.
"In the first month at training he picked up some things I probably wasn't aware of," Sippel said.
"For the last five or six years, I've been worrying about what everybody else does.
"I've straightened my back-lift a bit (this season) and am conscious of watching the ball. I'm probably too old to be coached.
"Bad habits are hard to break, but I'm definitely coming down straighter on the ball."
Jesberg's effect at Laidley has been broader than just lifting Sippel's average.
"There's a good culture around the club," Sippel said.
"If we don't win this year, there will be times when we will again.
"Craig's brought discipline to the club. If you see the way the juniors go about it, they're just about all leading their comps.
"The under 16s this year are as strong as I've ever seen them.
"We're hoping to have a third senior side next year."
The end goal this year for Sippel is helping Laidley win, rather than collecting impressive statistics.
"To make 80 not out and win the game is as pleasing as hitting 150," he said.
"Against Swifts it was hard to bat on - low, slow and turning.
"It was pleasing because I was more focused on winning the game."
It was pleasing because I was more focused on winning the game.
Leading run scorers
1. Ian Dionysius (Warwick Road Sports): 8361 runs @ 37.16.
2. Vince O'Sullivan (Railways): 7609 @ 30.44.
3. Grant Stallard (Norths): 7134 @ 34.21.
4. Brian May (Redbank Plains): 6972 @ 122.32.
5. Kev Kinnane (Brothers): 6371 @ 27.94.
6. Michael Sippel (Laidley): 6335 @ 57.59.
7. Ken Johnson (Booval): 6329.
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