Cutting saga

SWIFTS have called on Ipswich City Council to cut the grass at Baxter Oval much shorter after another low-scoring first division contest on Saturday.

The home side lost to Northsiders in a clash where 16 wickets fell for only 129 runs on a well prepared centre strip.

Swifts want the existing policy of cutting the grass to a height of 40mm on Thursdays changed to ensure players in the region's elite competition get full value for their shots.

To highlight the issue, Saturday's game had only two boundaries in 67 overs.

That led to calls for an urgent review of the controversial policy.

Swifts captain Jarred Lacey said the Baxter Oval outfield made it nearly impossible to score four.

"The outfield is pretty terrible and unfortunately we have to play on it every week," Lacey said.

"When you're playing in four-inch thick grass you can't score runs anywhere.

"If you score 60 runs on that field it's pretty much worth 120."

Swifts A-grade manager David Gill said the issue was a source of growing frustration for every team that visits the venue.

"The association has been trying hard for a fair while to get the grass down but nothing's happened," he said.

"There were some absolutely glorious shots hit yesterday that only managed to get a single.

"Any player, not just Swifts, that plays on that ground deserves to get full value for their shots."

With the venue hosting representative fixtures this weekend, Gill said there was more at stake than just the quality of local cricket.

"If they don't cut that grass shorter by next week, to a certain extent Ipswich is going to look like a laughing stock," he said.

Lacey said during Saturday's game against Norths, players from both teams were forced to hit riskier shots to make sure they scored runs.

"The condition of the field plays a big mental part in the way you bat," he said.

"You're hitting big drives and timing the ball well and basically getting singles for it."

President of Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association Peter Leschke agreed the grass length was an issue, but with council responsible for ground maintenance there was little the association could do.

"All council will do is mow the ground to 40 millimetres because that is as low as their mowers will go," Leschke said.

"We've raised these concerns with them and the response has been that is all they're able to do."

Leschke said the association was investigating all possibilities including investing in mowing equipment themselves.

In the other First Division match, reigning premiers Eastern Taipans comfortably accounted for a youthful Brothers outfit, winning by six wickets.

Brothers captain David Richardson said his team failed to post a competitive enough target.

"If you can't post at least 200 against Taipans you won't win too many matches," he said.



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