Crunch time for cricket final hopefuls
THE rain last weekend didn't help anybody.
Several teams however have one last chance to throw their hat into the ring for finals' cricket.
The Ipswich Logan Hornets men are mathe- matically in the race but will need big wins over Wests and the Sunshine Coast.
The Hornets are on 44 points in eighth, just one win behind Redlands (56) in fourth. Wests (seventh on 51) are still the hunt.
Wests have ex-Marburg and Centrals batsman Sam Truloff returning from successfully leading Queensland to victory in the Futures League - the reserve grade competition to the Sheffield Shield - against NSW on Thursday.
Former Booval and Brothers player Steve Paulsen, with over 10,000 Brisbane first grade runs, will be another key cricketer returning home and sure to challenge the home team.
The Hornets women, in the Jodie Fields Shield competition, face no such problems. They are atop of the ladder with 53 points, five ahead of Redlands with two one day fixtures to go before the finals.
WITH the tightness of the Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association competition this season, it's still hard to figure out who will play in the finals.
South East Redbacks were the big losers in the wash- outs. They were one of the premiership favourites after the merger between Swifts and Eastern Taipans.
Today, they will need nearly an outright against the Kookaburras to be assured of a semi-final spot.
The Redbacks sit third on 38.19 with one game left.
Centrals are coming off the bye. They probably had the best result in that the rivals did not move too far away from them.
Centrals are fourth with 37.85 points and have had two very close losses, which on other given days could have been two wins.
They have great pluck this season with the loss of swing bowler Alex Dell (work commitments).
Their bowling has been their strength with 15 wickets each to Rhys O'Sullivan and Geoff Klease, who sit fourth and fifth on the wicket-takers' list.
Northsiders (fifth on 33.88 points) and Laidley District (first on 61.33 points) meet at Cribb Park.
Northsiders have a point to prove with the ball after their off day against Brothers (second on 56.88 points) on the lightning fast outfields at Marsden Complex.
In second division, Laidley (89.7) have a handy nine-point lead over Redbacks (80.46). They take on Centrals, who are fourth with 58.9, at Limestone Park.
Laidley will be eyeing the minor premiership again if they also beat Brothers in the last round.
Redbacks have Thunder at Strollers this weekend. They will need to at least match Laidley's effort if they are to win the minor premiership.
Fassifern (third on 63.45) have away fixtures to Brothers and Northsiders.
They are still making up ground after their slow start to the season.
Centrals have the top two teams left in their run home, but are severely depleted so could miss out on the semi- finals if Northsiders (fifth on 52.01) defeat Fassifern in the last round.
In third division, perennial finalists Centrals are top again with 92 points with five rounds to go.
Laidley have surged into second place on the back of a seven-match winning streak that was ended by a surprise loss to Redbacks White two weeks ago.
Early frontrunners Thunder Storm are on 81 points and hanging in there.
They are well ahead of Redbacks White (66), Redback Red (56) and Northsiders (53).
In fourth division, Fassifern (72) have a mortgage on top spot with four rounds to go.
Springfield (50) have moved to second after the newly formed team struggled early.
Redback Black (44) are still in the hunt.
IN Monday's T20 semi-final, Centrals defeated Brothers to qualify for the grand final in a fortnight.
Centrals also won a pre-Baxter Big Bash title that was exclusively a day competition, for six finals in a row. That's a tremendous effort considering the nature of these contests.
Brothers batted first and were restricted to 9/100 after captain Matt Guest bowled his four overs for just three, runs including a wicket.
Mick Abbott was again the destroyer in the middle overs with 3/24. It was his arrival at the bowling crease that changed the game in Centrals' favour with the removal of dangerman Mick Ridgewell (31 off 31).
Centrals were never headed in the chase with opener Vellacott (55 not out from 50 balls) starring, assisted by Tim Weber (12 off 13) and Will Kraschnefski (27 off 13).
Brothers' best bowlers in the seven-wicket loss was Dylan McAteer (1/16) and Ridgewell (1/13).
The other semi featured Fassifern Bushrangers and Marburg/Mt Crosby Thunder.
Fassifern, in their first senior grade final, will rely on local talent with their only imports being their favourite sons, the Lutter twins - Sean and Rowan, from the Hornets.
Charlie Moncada is back to lead the Bushies to give them a huge confidence boost.
Thunder have the much younger team after being grand finalists last season.
They will rely on former juniors in captain David Lyons, Lachlan Vellacott and Lee Watts (all Hornets), and imports Jack Beath (Valleys) and Grayson Jones (Wynnum Manly), to lead talented juniors Sean Seaward, Matt Leschke and Zeb Townsley.