Age catching up with champion team
THE competition's leading run scorer conceded it was more comfortable watching the Test match on TV in the clubhouse than being out in the hot and humid conditions at Laidley.
"We're just all getting older,'' Mick Sippel said, reflecting on his team's much-needed victory over Swifts at Bichel Oval.
A player noted for his high standards, Sippel said Laidley was no longer the force it once was, winning the three main titles last season after a decade of dominating the two-day competition.
"At some point it was always going to come back to the field,'' said Sippel, who has scored more than 6000 runs in 160 two-day competition matches.
"We're not the quickest fielders any more. We're all looking to stand in slips.
"I'm 41, (brother) Gerard is nearly 40, the other guys are pushing well into their thirties now.
"Experience is probably getting us through but it's tough.
"There's no big plan to be in finals at this point until we get to that stage of the season.
"We didn't play necessarily overly well this game.''
Losing to Northsiders in the first round of the two-day comp showed Laidley were no longer unbeatable.
However, Sippel was pleased to see number four batsman Gerard score a vital 66, well supported by Brendan O'Keefe (56) and lower order batsman Terry Emmerson remain 29 not as Laidley made 249 chasing Swifts' 134.
Swifts' first innings was wrapped up on the previous weekend when captain Alex Welsh (4/26), ever-reliable speedster Ben Gibson (2/44) and Jackson McQuilty (3/23) did the damage.
"The wicket was flat. We bowled well,'' Sippel said.
On Saturday, it was number four batsman Gerard Sippel who guided Laidley safely past their target before O'Keefe and Emmerson helped amass some valuable points.
"Terry Emmerson batted really well down the bottom,'' Mick Sippel said.
"He's unlucky not to bat higher in the order. He bats beautifully.
"He'd be the best number 10 batsman in the competition. Through depth we haven't been able to get him in any higher.''
Sippel also praised new skipper Welsh, who has been in and out of the side with injury and rep commitments.
"He's been playing well for us. He's comfortably our best player with bat and ball,'' Sippel said.
"He's a good captain too. He's taken on that role really well from Chris (Wilson). We're pretty lucky in that regard.
"We have a couple of good heads to rely on.''
Swifts were 2/96 batting a second time when stumps were called.
Pressure on Swifts
While suggesting Laidley were relying on experience to win this season, Mick Sippel said beating Swifts was crucial heading into the Christmas break.
"If you are none from two at this stage of the season, she's a long road back,'' Sippel said.
However, that is the situation facing Swifts after they lost their first two-day game to Eastern Taipans.
Defending just 134 was never going to be easy despite some spirited bowling from Nick vander Wert (3/39 off 15.5 overs) and Raj Gohain (2/35 off 14).
All-rounder Gohain played a few seasons at Eastern Raiders with Tyrone De Silva, David Roberts and Tommy Douglass before joining Toombul in Brisbane.
"Swifts bowling attack is not too bad,'' Sippel said. "They have some real handy cricketers.''
Swifts are hopeful of having Gohain and Douglass available for their remaining four two-day games when the competition resumes on January 7.
Laidley play Brothers. Swifts have a bye to ponder their precarious situation.