GOOD DAY: Brothers spinner David Richardson tries to dismiss Centrals batsman Ben O’Connell at Mark Marsh Oval on Saturday.
GOOD DAY: Brothers spinner David Richardson tries to dismiss Centrals batsman Ben O’Connell at Mark Marsh Oval on Saturday. Rob Williams

Brothers keep pressure on final rivals; tie in Plunkett Cup

WITH their finals hopes hanging by a fingernail, Brothers knew they had to bowl first.

It proved a successful ploy in their must-win final round first division match against Centrals.

After an early battle as Centrals dug in, Brothers cleaned up their opponents for 181.

Needing a win to have any chance of making the semi-final, Brothers reached 1/36 by stumps with opener Mark Sharrad out.

Experienced Brothers spinner David Richardson was happy with his team's fightback, clinging to hopes of finishing third.

"It was a good day at the end,'' Richardson said.

"At one stage, we thought we were in for a long day.

"They sort of batted themselves in a hole, which played into our hands.''

Centrals were progressing comfortably at 2/53 with Australian Country allrounder Ben O'Connell coming to the crease.

But when the powerful left-hander was dismissed for 45, Centrals suffered a mini collapse.

They slumped from 5/125 to a sub par score.

"They weren't trying to score runs,'' Richardson said.

"That's okay for their top order but a couple of quick wickets and they put pressure on their lower order.''

Brothers left-arm orthodox spinner Brendan Alcorn took four wickets after Craig Mackay snared the crucial scalp of O'Connell.

"That was probably the turning point,'' Richardson said.

"Once we had him (O'Connell), we sort of made it through the tail so that was a good result.''

Richardson was impressed with Alcorn's effort after Mackay stopped Centrals dangerman.

"He bowled really well, just tied them down and in the end, they probably got themselves out,'' Richardson said.

With the vital match resuming on Saturday, Richardson praised Centrals ground staff for their efforts getting the match started.

"It was unbelievable,'' the Ipswich stalwart said, living close to Limestone Park.

"With all that rain we had on Friday night, to their credit they were up early and got it fine.

"The wicket was really good.

"Given any other day, we probably would have batted first but we had to win the game so we had to bowl them out.''

Meanwhile, runaway competition leaders Laidley looked to be in control against second placed Eastern Taipans at Bichel Oval.

Laidley were 4/85 at stumps after dismissing Taipans for 131.

Laidley's consistent bowling attack shared the wickets with Liam Bacon taking 3/19.

Taipans are looking for early wickets on Saturday to secure second spot for the semi-final.

Taipans received some late encouragement, having removed the dangerous Mick Sippel for 36 and representative allrounder Alex Welsh for 8.

In the other first division match with no bearing on the finals, Northsiders were dismissed for 130 before Swifts reached 5/61 at stumps.

In other cricket news tonight, Toowoomba won the Plunkett Cup this afternoon despite scoring the same number of runs as Ipswich.

Both teams amassed 198 runs with Toowoomba claiming the title being the host centre.

Opener Craig Jesberg topscored with 42 for Ipswich as his team set the 198 run total off their 50 overs at Heritage Oval.

Toowoomba tied the match after being bowled ouf for 198 with one ball to spare.

Nick Vellacott snared 3-34 and Andrew McIntosh took 3-38.

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