Ipswich oval 'needs work'
FOR the second successive season, the state of Baxter Oval during the Ipswich Division One grand final has been brought into question.
It wasn't so much the covering of the pitch when rain hit this time, as it was last year, as the length of the grass on both pitch and the rest of the oval.
"It was a little bit of a worry," said Northsiders all-rounder Michael Hillier.
Hillier hit the winning runs as his team made hard work of a 43-run victory target.
Northsiders lost six wickets on their way there. Minor premiers Eastern Taipans could manage just 74 and 73 in two innings.
"Scoring 43 runs on that field is still pretty difficult," Hillier said.
"They don't understand this is not a good cricket field.
"The grass is too thick.
"If you want to score runs, you have to take a risk.
"The association do a lot of good things but I don't think they understand this is not an acceptable cricket pitch.
"It's bad to watch. You smash a ball and get one for it.
"When me and Marcus (Hillier) came together, we needed 25 and thought: 'How are we going to get 25 runs'."
Ipswich Webb Shield captain Ben O'Connell is another player who feels the ground is sub-standard.
"It's pretty disappointing if they're trying to market it as the premier field in Ipswich," he said.
"The length of the grass, the facilities and the wicket itself isn't really conducive to good cricket between two sides."
A big part of the problem is the IWMCA relies on Ipswich City Council equipment, which doesn't cut the grass low enough for a fast outfield.
The good news is the ground and equipment are about to receive a makeover.
IWMCA president Peter Leschke said Ipswich City Council had committed to new equipment to mow the grass shorter, in time for an Ipswich Logan team to host matches in the Queensland Premier competition there next summer.
But Ipswich Webb Shield coach Craig Jesberg defended the grand final conditions, saying it was the players, not the pitch or outfield, that determined the low totals.
"The batting was a disgrace," Jesberg said.
"Nobody wanted to guts it out.
"If I had Brian May in my side, he'd have gutsed it out."
Jesberg saw the same thing when Ipswich played its Webb Shield match against Gold Coast and was rolled for 87 in reply to the visitors' 142 in October.
"Chasing 140, you just have to take your time and do it in 45 overs," he said.
"We couldn't do it.
"We wanted to do it in 30 overs.
"Don't blame the wicket or the outfield.
"Of the 36 wickets (to fall in the grand final), 25 were due to poor batting.
"That's why we didn't win the Webb Shield, because we didn't score enough runs."
What did you think about the state of the ground prepared for the grand final? SMS your views to 0407 088 442.