Queensland Country captain Ben O’Connell.
Queensland Country captain Ben O’Connell. Rob Williams

Country caps for Ben and Kev

IT'S just as well Ben O'Connell is on school holidays and Kev Cumming has plenty of composure.

Newly-appointed Queensland Country captain O'Connell won't be home much over the next few months.

And Cumming will be joining him at the Australian Country carnival in January after nearly snaring a hat-trick on Sunday.

O'Connell's terrific representative season continued in Cairns when he led the South Queensland side to its first win over North Queensland in four years.

The Ipswich allrounder's regional bowling teammate Cumming also impressed in Cairns, taking 3-44 off 16 overs.

After being hit around during 16 overs late on the first day, Cumming responded brilliantly the next morning to set up a hat-trick attempt.

Although he missed the milestone, left-arm quick Cumming had done enough to earn selection in the Queensland Country side heading to Geelong for the 10-day nationals.

It was the first time O'Connell and Cumming were chosen.

But before O'Connell prepares for the national mission, he's also got a trip to India next month as part of the Centrals team involved in a two-week harmony tour.

"It's in the school holidays so I don't get much of a rest," the 26-year-old Lowood State School teacher said.

O'Connell's feast of cricket comes after he represented the Flames in the KFC T20 Challenge to launch the new season.

O'Connell was delighted how South Queensland - also including Ipswich players Paul Milne and Mark Lehmann - amassed 7-275 before dismissing North Queensland the next day eight runs short.

South only secured victory in the second-last over of the nail-biting clash.

"Our goal was to bat the whole 96 overs, remain patient all through the two days," O'Connell said.

O'Connell's main contribution in Cairns was 22 with the bat.

Northsiders fast bowler Cumming was putting his feet up yesterday after his achievement.

"That's what I've been aiming for the last couple of years," said Cumming, who works for the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

"I'm stoked about it."

Cumming, 28, was on a hat-trick at the start of a new over.

"I just tried to do what I'd been doing the last couple of overs," he said.

"I struggled on the Saturday afternoon because one of the batters teed off on me. But I came back well into the wind (on Sunday) and started bowling better lines and good length.

"After lunch, I had a sharp five-over spell and that's when I took a few wickets."

Cumming returns to club cricket with Northsiders before focusing on the Australian Country Championships.



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