Laidley on track for first Division One title in five years
LAIDLEY have shown they are on track for their first Division One title in five years.
The Blue Dogs displayed a champion's trait of producing the goods when it matters most, defeating Northsiders outright to virtually guarantee them the minor premiership.
It is the Tigers' first outright two-day defeat in the top grade since the club began in 1996.
Laidley sits a point behind Brothers, who beat Eastern Taipans on first innings, with a round to play.
But the Brethren have the final round bye, meaning even a loss for Laidley against Centrals would deliver them sufficient points to finish top.
It means direct passage into the grand final, something Laidley captain Chris Wilson is grateful for.
"I think it's very important," Wilson said.
"You don't want to get to the semi-final stage, where you could get caught on a wet wicket."
Laidley's timing was impeccable throughout the second day of their game against the Tigers at Bichel Oval.
Resuming on 1-133, they put on 98 in 12 overs before declaring.
Northsiders openers Jarred Lacey (50) and Gavin Bickerstaff (17) then provided stubborn resistance, getting their team to 0-52.
With their prospects fading at tea time, Laidley decided to try something different and it paid off.
"We got Toppy (Michael Topp) fired up," Wilson said of his team's fastest bowler.
"We brought a few blokes in close and gave them plenty of short stuff."
Three quick wickets to Topp were the result and the result followed soon after as Northsiders lost 8-41 to be all out 119.
It left Laidley requiring seven runs to win outright, which they did with 15 minutes to spare.
"It was one of our more complete performances for the season," Wilson said.
"It's tough to win outright, especially at Laidley, which is such a good batting wicket."
It is why Wilson was particularly pleased with his team's bowling and fielding effort.
"We took some good catches, Wilson said.
None were better than Jack Wood's effort, diving full length at leg gully to dismiss Darren Barbour off Topp's bowling.
There will be no pressure on Laidley when they face Centrals over the next two Saturdays.
But Wilson will insist his team retains its killer instinct, knowing they will have the following weekend off as the semi-finalists do battle.
"I'd like to see us bat for a long time against Centrals," he said.
"We've got the week off after so I want our batters to have a good hit and we'll be hoping to win the game."
Division 1 ladder
1. Brothers 140.48
2. Laidley 139.41
3. Northsiders 84.52
4. Swifts 75.25
5. Central Districts 68.15
6. Eastern Taipans 47.28
7. Thunder 24.83