History in the making for Ipswich cricket teams
TODAY marks the official start of the local Ipswich competition, after one of the biggest reorganisations of its 123 year history.
Most of the talk around town is involvement of the five Toowoomba clubs into the first grade's one day competition. This is seen as a positive idea by many even if it means a little more travel every couple of weekends.
These games will be one day matches played over the next five weekends with two pools of six teams. There will be a top two semi-finals and a grand final for the Harding Madsen Cup on the weekend of November 19.
Points acquired will be just for the one day trophy and not carry over to the local two day fixtures.
The one day rules will be 45 overs with a maximum of 10 overs per bowler being the main change.
Last year, Laidley District took out the one day grand final ahead of Brothers in the final, who tipped out Centrals by a single point.
In Toowoomba, Western Districts defeated Metropolitan Easts comfortably in the final.
Ipswich has always had titanic struggles with Toowoomba at a representative level over the past hundred years in whatever sport we contest.
How the teams shape up
WHILE talking about heated contests and historic days, Northsiders are celebrating their 20 year anniversary today at Sternberg Oval.
Former club players from Northsiders, Waysiders and Northern Suburbs are welcome to watch the present day generation wielding the willow against their oldest foe Brothers over a beer or two at the Norths Leagues Club.
Northsiders are in rebuilding phase after the retirement of many their stars of the last decade.
Ryan Benson will take on the major leadership role.
Dylan Blackman will return from his SEQ tournament to head the batting. Their bowling will be spearheaded by young guns Jarrod Darrach and Dominic Salton.
Brothers will again be led by inspirational Craig Cumming.
Their bowling will be their stronger suit with young guns Dylan Schnoefisch, Lachlan Biljy, Angus Gegg and Jonathon Bill all pushing for starting berths.
This season, their batting will revolve around Taylor Peach, who last season opened with much success.
Cumming and the returning Luke Dixon will slot into middle order but will need more out of their top order this year.
Thunder will have a bit of starch this season with the return of some favourite sons.
Former Hornets first grader Matt Elkins returns to assist a young outfit. His experience will be essential in the longer form.
His off spin, along with his younger brother Justin's legspin, could be very handy in the one day comp.
Veterans Matt Muller and Trent Kammholz return to assist captain and prolific run scorer Aaron Nugter.
Young Toby Janke and Sean Seaward will be players to watch.
Thunder face University in Toowoomba, which could be a tight affair.
Eastern Taipans will face the biggest challenge this weekend with many missing due to a wedding.
Toowoomba's Western Districts is led by Brian May, the all-time leading run- getter at the Australian National Championships.
After this weekend's wedding, Brodie Dwyer will assume Taipans' captaincy duties.
He has made steady progress as a batsman over the last few years and had a good T20 series for SEQ last week. He will have one of the best pacemen in Ipswich to call on, Vaughan Oldham.
Matthew Andrews, son of the Brothers great batsman and captain of the 1980s Brian Andrews, moves from Laidley to Redbank Plains.
He will take on the extra responsibilities of holding their middle order together.
Swifts, who were disappointing last season with their talented list, take on Central Districts at Limestone Park.
Swifts have added to their list with Aravinda Rathnayaka and Chatumina Amarathunga making successful debuts for the club in 2nd Grade last week.
The Bluebirds have got Cade Banditt from Brothers while Josh Schweizter will be keen to improve on his debut season.
Swifts will experiment with duel captains. Their great allrounders, Dylan Hickson and Cameron Wood, lead the outfit that will be eager to return to finals' cricket.
Centrals look solid again despite the loss of their talented allrounder Nick Vellacott, who has moved to Western Suburbs in QCA.
Centrals were defeated in the T20 final and were ahead in the rain-affected four day grand final last season.
Centrals' batting looks good again with four of the top 10 last season batters back in their line-up.
Caleb Risson and Luke Barrett will have to continue their solid form,
With Matt Guest back from a successful stint in England and Blake Raper emerging as a handy opening swing bowler, Centrals will again be a major force.
Three time defending premiers Laidley District will start as favourites. They are coming off the club's best ever season where they accomplished the unbelievable feat of winning the top three senior grades and Under 16s.
Alex Welsh takes over the reins from Chris Wilson. To live up last season's efforts will difficult but Laidley are one of the teams that could do this season with their very talented list.
They play Toowoomba premiers of last season, Metropolitan Easts at home in the match of the round.
Michael Sippel will be keen to secure the elusive 34 runs to become the all-time leading run getter in the association history from Centrals legend Ian Dionysius.
That would cap off a momentous day for Ipswich sport.
Where I think the teams will end up this season.
Combined Ipswich/Toowoomba competition: Pool A - Brothers and Wests Toowoomba. Pool B: Swifts/Centrals and Laidley to dominate.
T20: Laidley and Brothers to meet in grand final.
Two day comp: Laidley v Centrals. Swifts likely to make semi-final and Brothers will be very competitive. Northsiders and Taipans will upset a fancied team or two. Thunder may secure a win or two against an underperforming team.