Battling Taipans face tough start
THE start of the Ipswich Division One competition this weekend feels something like a false start.
Brothers and Eastern Taipans will both be without their regular captains, with Craig Cumming leading Brothers against Thunder in Luke Dixon's absence.
His cousin Greig will lead a Taipans team struggling to get 11 players to their match against Laidley.
The Taipans are without skipper Jarrid Griesbach and opening quick Dan Packer.
The club has lost the services of last year's skipper Nathan Fisher (Ipswich Logan Hornets) and Andrew Doyle.
Club stalwart Greg Jeffers is returning to action this season but is unavailable this week while Mal Muggeridge and Dean Micallef are both away.
"I don't know what happened," Greig Cumming said.
"Everyone thought the comp was not starting until next week.
"We've just got to get some third grade players and do our best.
"We're up to nine players and I'll be on the phone tonight."
It is far from the ideal circumstances to play the reigning champions first up at their Bichel Oval fortress.
"It's a tough team to face," Greig said yesterday.
"The hardest thing is trying to find someone to face the new ball."
It is hard to see Taipans getting anything other than a royal walloping.
But in some ways that takes the pressure off Cumming.
He has nothing to lose while his rag-tag bunch has the rare chance to test themselves at a higher level.
Cousin Craig takes over Brothers in slightly more secure circumstances.
The absence of Dixon, Jacob Sarra, Craig Mackay and possibly Michael Ridgewell makes it less than ideal however.
Craig's persistent hamstring injury makes his team even more vulnerable.
He injured his hamstring eight weeks ago playing indoor cricket and aggravated it three weeks ago.
"We'll have to see how our bowling stocks are," Craig said.
"If I have to bowl, I have to bowl."
Ridgewell pulled up sore after training this week, meaning new recruit Tim Wichura could be called upon early.
With Brothers heavily reliant on Mark Sharrad for pace bowling, Cumming would love to win the toss and bat first on a flat deck.
For a Thunder team looking to build on its first season in the top grade, it could be the perfect opportunity to catch Brothers below their best.
"They'll be better for the experience last year," Craig said.
"They're probably a team to watch out for.
"Hopefully we don't go in thinking we're going to win easily.
"Everyone should be keen."
In the other Division One match, Central Districts host Swifts at Mark Marsh Oval while Northsiders have the bye.
Round 1 Ipswich West Moreton Cricket Association competition
- Laidley v Taipans at Bichel Oval
- Centrals v Swifts at Mark Marsh Oval
- Brothers v Thunder at Ivor Marsden 2
All games are one-day matches starting 10am.