Centrals opening batsman Luke Barrett.
Centrals opening batsman Luke Barrett. Inga Williams

Ipswich talent thriving on higher level opportunities

WHEN it comes to handy regional cricketers, few are better than Centrals all-rounder Luke Barrett.

He's a solid batsman opening the innings and can bowl a mixture of spin and pace when the situation arises.

Although he's had limited bowling opportunities in recent representative games, Barrett is thriving on being part of SEQ and South Queensland teams playing higher level T20 and one-day games.

His next mission is joining Centrals captain Ben O'Connell and Laidley skipper Alex Welsh representing South Queensland in a T20 series involving North Queensland and the top four Brisbane competition sides.

That two-day tournament next weekend follows his recent trip to Mackay where he again represented South Queensland.

Barrett's top score was 45 against North Queensland.

"The games were really close,'' Barrett, 23, said.

"Unfortunately we didn't get over the line with any wins but I felt I played all right up there.''

As a cricketer with plenty of ability, Barrett is soaking up every game with South Queensland and SEQ, having also played in the Bulls Masters Country Challenge at the start of the season.

"It's always good to get opportunities at the next level,'' he said. "And when you feel like you're performing okay, it gives you more confidence to compete at that level.''

Although he wasn't required to bowl much with South Queensland, it was a case of learning from more seasoned cricketers.

"I probably prefer batting in one-dayers compared to the T20s, but I enjoy both the same I guess,'' he said.

"You have more time to establish yourself in the 50 over format.''

Preparing to play for Centrals in Saturday's first division game against Brothers, Barrett knows last year's two-day competition grand finalists have plenty of work ahead of them.

However, he's confident the team has retained enough quality to make the season decider again after a quiet one-day series.

"I feel we played a lot of good cricket in patches but there was a couple of games where we didn't quite put it all together,'' the opener said.

His best score was 82 in the one-day comp involving Toowoomba sides.

"We're looking to continue building through the two-dayers now, which will give us a good opportunity to establish ourselves as competition contenders really,'' Barrett said.

Centrals secured first innings points against Thunder last weekend after amassing 7/315 chasing their 162 target at Tivoli.

Barrett was thrilled to see Centrals secure handy all-rounder Adam O'Sullivan this season.

He also enjoys opening with stalwart Wayne Jones.

The opening pair average 73.5 together, with recent partnerships of 66, 49 and 117.

"He's good to bat with. He's got a lot of experience and keeps you motivated out there,'' Barrett said.

Barrett is tipping another tight first division competition. "Northsiders have shown that they can beat the top side in Laidley and Swifts are right up there as well,'' he said.

As he approaches the Christmas break, Barrett is ready for more representative honours.

"The body is feeling good and I'm feeling pretty confident with my cricket,'' he said. "Hopefully I can continue to keep performing well and seize the opportunities.''

Game day

Saturday's IWMCA first division matches.

Laidley District v Swifts at Bichel Oval.

Central Districts v Brothers at Mark Marsh Oval.

Thunder v Eastern Taipans at Tivoli.

All matches start at noon.

Points after first of seven two-day rounds: Centrals 17.65, Northsiders 17.60, Taipans 16.63, Swifts 5.97, Thunder 3.37, Brothers had opening round bye.

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