Baby arrival has Centrals skipper on highest alert
CENTRALS captain Ben O'Connell was in what he described as a "holding pattern'' preparing for this weekend's semi-final.
The father-to-be had every reason to be on high alert.
O'Connell and his partner Amelia were expecting their second child on the eve of the first division final against Eastern Taipans.
A renowned cricketing warrior, O'Connell was preparing as usual for the match starting at Mark Marsh Oval on Saturday morning.
However, the West Moreton Anglican College teacher was ready to set off when needed.
"I'm pretty much on call at work and wherever else I am at the moment,'' he said.
The new arrival will join Ben and Amelia's first child, three and half year old daughter Olivia.
But if bub number two arrives late, O'Connell will be with his teammates chasing a spot in the grand final against Laidley starting the following weekend.
"It's probably my third or fourth semi-final now since I've been back in Ipswich,'' the Queensland Country allrounder said. "I haven't had a successful one yet.''
Centrals lost to Swifts last season at the same stage.
However, Centrals have played well against Taipans in recent two-day and T20 matches.
Being on their home pitch at Mark Marsh Oval also favours Centrals, as they proved against Brothers last weekend.
If the Centrals skipper has a dash to the hospital, vice-captain Nick Vellacott is expected to take the reins.
"Nick has been leading from the front with the ball . . . and really asking a lot of questions of the batsmen,'' O'Connell said.
Points heading into this weekend's finals.
- 1st Grade: Laidley 155.63, Centrals 123.76, Taipans 117.2, Brothers 99.52, Swifts 87.61, Northsiders 56.06, Thunder 24.59. Semi-final: Centrals v Taipans at Mark Marsh Oval, Limestone Park.
- 2nd Grade: Laidley 153.15, Taipans 143.2, Fassifern 131.14, Centrals 120.55, Northsiders 95.37, Brothers 75.07, Swifts 73.27, Thunder 42.54. Semi-final: Taipans host Fassifern at Bruce Raleigh Oval, Redbank Plains.
- 3rd Grade: Laidley 62, Fassifern 44, Centrals 42, Taipans Black 38, Swifts Blue 30, Swifts Red 22. Best of three finals played Saturdays: Laidley v Fassifern at Baxter Oval, Amberley.
- 4th Grade: Thunder 26, Brothers 26, Swifts Gold 8, Taipans Orange 8. Best of three finals played Saturdays: Thunder v Brothers at Ivor Marsden No.1, Amberley.