Hornets women step up, inspired by Qld Fire player Ellie
HAVING both Ipswich women's teams in this weekend's Queensland Premier Grade semi-finals is a massive indication of how well the Hornets are progressing.
Having one of the Hornets regular players Ellie Johnston currently playing for the Queensland Fire enhances that ongoing cricket development success.
But while the Hornets first grade side will be without Johnston for Sunday's elimination showdown with the Gold Coast, head coach Wayne Bichel sees it as another opportunity for his players.
Lucy Neumann, Olivia Winter, Keely Freiberg and Ella Harvey have stepped up in recent games with Johnston preparing for Queensland duty.
The promising foursome featured in last Sunday's riveting Katherine Raymont Shield encounter, forcing a tie chasing UQ's 179 at the Ivor Marsden sporting complex.
Bichel said his middle order batters will have pivotal roles when his fourth-placed team face Gold Coast at Robina on Sunday.
"If we get those four batting through on the weekend then we will be able to post a nice competitive total,'' Bichel said.
Bichel said his team would also have to handle the Gold Coast spinners who caused issues when the teams met earlier this season.
"We didn't play those spinners that well last time,'' he said.
"That will be the key thing for the girls and also to make sure we bat out our 50 overs.''
With Gold Coast not having their Fire player Georgia Redmayne, Bichel expects an even contest on Sunday.
The Hornets second graders are playing at home in their semi-final against Sunshine Coast on Sunday.
Having finished in second place, the Hornets Jodie Fields competition side has displayed plenty of commitment working with coach Tony Potbury and senior player Leanne Bichel.
"We're really pleased,'' Bichel said.
"At the start of the year, we planned it would be aspirational for both teams to get into the semis.
"Where we finished is probably better than our expectations, particularly because we have such a young squad . . . and particularly for the twos.''
He said it had been beneficial for both sides to work together at training and "giving them a chance''.
"That has made it difficult for Tony Potbury, the coach of the twos, bringing girls up and that has been the key thing.
"They've been bringing girls and still winning in the twos.
"They've had a few ugly wins but wins where they've had to really fight hard, which has been really good.''
Both Hornets sides have to win their semi-finals to advance to the grand finals in their respective 50 and 40 over semi-finals.
As for Johnston being the first Hornets women's player to gain Queensland Fire selection, Bichel said it was onwards and upwards for the next generation of regional cricketers.
"We're just over the moon,'' he said.
Batting at number eight in today's game for Queensland against Victoria, Johnston scored 21 off 23 balls in a fine flurry.
Meanwhile, the Ipswich Hornets first grade men have to finish the job against Sandgate Redcliffe on Saturday to secure their spot in the Queensland Premier Grade semi-finals.
The Hornets need to dismiss Sandgate Redcliffe for less than 283 and preferably gain some bonus points on the second day of their match at Walker Oval.
In the Cricket Ipswich competition, the final round of qualifying matches are being played with Laidley and Northsiders in the box seat to contest the grand final.
Qld Premier Grades (Saturday)
1st Grade at Walker Oval: Sandgate Redcliffe chasing Ipswich 283.
2nd Grade at Deagon: Sandgate Redcliffe 9/322 v Hornets.
Women's semi-finals (Sunday)
1st Grade: 1-Gold Coast Dolphins v 4-Ipswich Hornets at Robina
2nd Grade: 2-Ipswich Hornets v 3-Sunshine Coast Scorchers at Walker Oval.
Brothers v Northsiders at Marsden No.2
Central Districts v Marburg/ Mt Crosby Thunder at Limestone Park
Laidley District v South East Redbacks at Bichel Oval
Brothers v Northsiders at Sternberg Oval
Central Districts v Marburg/ Mt Crosby Thunder at Marsden No.4
Laidley District v South East Redbacks at Raleigh Oval
Laidley v Strollers Blue at Mulgowie
Northsiders v Thunder at Marsden No.3
Strollers White v Redbacks at Strollers