WHILE he has been scaring the life out of bowlers with his batting this summer, Michael Sippel has not terrorised nearly as many batters with his left arm pace as usual.
It is not because of any drop in standards from the Laidley spearhead however.
He just hasn't had to do as much work, thanks to those around him.
Right arm quick Ben Gibson has returned to his best for the Blue Dogs, after a knee injury limited his contributions last summer, to top the Ipswich Logan Premier League bowling figures at the Christmas break.
Gibson has claimed 24 wickets at an average of 12.83.
"He seems fitter this year," Sippel said.
"I think his knee is still giving him a bit of bother.
"But he's a fairly smart bowler. He doesn't bowl much rubbish. He aims for the top of off-stump, on nicking lengths and doesn't give them too much to hit.
"That's where he's improved his game. When you bowl nagging lines blokes get frustrated. He's learnt that if you bowl good areas it builds pressure. He's like Matthew Dean. He's a very smart bowler who aims for the top of off stump."
It is no surprise then that Dean is fourth on the wicket takers list, with 16 at an average of 14.56.
The experienced trio of Sippel, Dean and Gibson also know how to out-think most batsmen.
"Everyone wants to drive," Sippel said. "To get on the front foot and hit boundaries. No-one likes not scoring. They don't like to bat time."
Apart from Sippel himself, that is.
Which explains why he streets the field on the batting list, with 671 runs at an average of more than 223.
Sippel's batting has benefited from having to bowl less.
"For sure," the 37-year-old said. "I haven't been required to bowl a lot of overs this year.
"To play more cricket I had to bowl less. Otherwise it's too much to ask of the body now."
Laidley's production line of fast bowlers doesn't end there.
Sippel is excited by what young tearaway Michael Topp, who is in just his second year out of high school, may yet achieve.
"He's got the ability to really hurry batsmen," Sippel said.
"He's only played a few games but is already showing he's going to be very good.
"With a guy like Jezza (club coach Craig Jesberg) working with him he's enjoying his cricket. He bowls fast and fairly effortlessly. He's a strong lad and can bowl quite sharp."
Sippel rates him as fast as just about anyone in the competition.
"On his day he can be as quick as a Kev Cumming," Sippel said.
It makes for a formidable foursome of fast bowlers.
When you throw in wrist spinner Jack Wood and finger spinners Alex Welsh and Byron Cubit, it is hard to spot a chink in the Blue Dogs' attack.
"Byron is one I rate highly," Sippel said.
"Against Swifts we weren't going so flash. Then he came on and took three wickets and tied them up.
"If he works on his fielding and batting he could easily play a higher level of cricket.
"He spins the ball and beats guys in flight."
- Ben Gibson (Laidley): 24 wickets, average 12.83, best 6-32
- Craig Mackay (Brothers): 18 wickets, average 10.83, best 6-16
- Kev Cumming (Northsiders): 16 wickets, average 13.5, best 5-13
- Matthew Dean (Laidley): 16 wickets, average 14.56, best 4-37
- Ben O'Connell (Centrals): 16 wickets, average 20.06, best 6-40
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