McCoombes skittles Dogs' best bats
SCOTT McCoombes produced possibly the greatest spell of bowling in Ipswich Division One history on Saturday to reduce the highly-rated Laidley batting line-up to rubble.
The Northsiders' medium pacer claimed 9-6, coming on first change, to bowl the Blue Dogs out for 81.
In reply, Northsiders were 7-62 at stumps.
"It worked out pretty well," McCoombes said with considerable understatement.
"I was just bowling the right areas consistently."
McCoombes, known to his teammates as Scooter, came on with Laidley one wicket down but no sign of the carnage that was to come.
"I just think our boys tended to bowl a bit too short," he said of his team's opening quicks Kev Cumming (1-19) and Rob Hillier (0-25).
"I'm always looking to bowl a lot fuller and getting boys on the drive and snicking behind.
"Their boys tended to hit it to the fielders and the guys behind the wicket."
Never has the plan worked like it did on Saturday.
The six runs McCoombes conceded came from two outside edges.
At one point he boasted figures of 6-0 from six overs.
"I've never actually got five wickets in first grade before," McCoombes said.
"Once I got that off my back, I relaxed again and went back to work.
"Then every over I'd get a wicket and get two in some.
"I was just going with the flow.
"It was unbelievable."
The Jensen Oval pitch has shown a tendency to hold up on batsmen this season, particularly at the end McCoombes was bowling at.
But that in no way explains the Laidley collapse.
It was the best bowling figures in the competition since Shane Lehmann also claimed 9-6 in the rout of Colleges Crossing for nine in February, 2007.
But the fledgling Colleges line-up that day can not be compared to the current Laidley team which has played in the past four Division 1 grand finals.
"I just think I was putting it in areas that weren't there to be hit," McCoombes said.
"I drew them into shots that got wickets.
"But I don't think there were too many bad shots."
McCoombes' teammates could just watch on in wonder.
"It was one of the most remarkable bowling performances you'll ever see," said Northsiders' Nathan Hooper, who top scored with 53.
"He was just making ball after ball land in exactly the right spot, letting the pitch do the work and watching the batsmen getting themselves out.
"It was not unplayable.
"It was doing a bit but Mick Sippel showed you could score runs from that end.
"It was pretty much normal cricket from the other end.
"It was one of those freakish, unbelievable performances that will probably never be repeated again."
While McCoombes lacks the pace he once had, he has more than made up for it with experience.
"He's always been a good bowler," Hooper said.
"I don't think that's the last time he'll take five or six wickets in an innings.
"He knows his line and length and bowls within his limitations.
"He's been getting good batsmen out.
"He gets key wickets and that's what you want from your first change bowler."