Finals race heats up
THE loss of a big chunk of the Ipswich West Moreton Cricket Association season due to rain and floods means the run to the finals has become a sprint.
With Laidley out in front, it leaves Northsiders, Brothers and Strollers/Raiders likely to fight out the two semi-final spots.
If second-placed Northsiders beat third-placed Brothers this round at Ivor Marsden 2, they will be in the box seat.
If they lose and Strollers/Raiders can pick up outright points against Swifts at Baxter Oval, the Northerners will find themselves on the outer.
“With three games to go, it is pretty much must-win every game, especially with the weather about,” Northsiders captain Marcus Hillier said.
Northsiders got the march on their opponents with a game against Strollers/Raiders last week, which Hillier said was much needed.
“It was good,” he said.
“It felt like the first game of the season.
“We’ve been training Mondays and a few of the boys pulled up a bit sore.”
Northsiders bowled well to win the match but the batting, Tim Wichura aside, left plenty to be desired and Hillier just hopes this week brings an improvement.
“Tim batted all right but everyone else was pretty scratchy,” he said.
“Any edge is a good edge and it definitely helps getting a game under our belt. We’ve just got to post a decent score.
“Our bowlers have done the job for most of the year, it’s just our batting that’s let us down.”
Hillier is placing the pressure on himself, David Lyons and Ben Svensson to lead the way.
“If we three can score runs, it should set the rest of the team up,” he said.
In tomorrow’s other game, Laidley hosts Central Districts at Bichel Oval.
Even though they lead the competition, Laidley, more than anyone, has cause to feel aggrieved by the play they have missed out on, with both their games against bottom-placed Swifts cancelled.
Centrals are boosted by the return of Ben O’Connell, the former Laidley and Centrals batsman who has played first grade in the Brisbane competition for Redlands.
“We only just snuck home against them last time,” Laidley batsman Jason Cubit said.
“Ben O’Connell is a pretty handy player so that will strengthen their batting line-up.”
Cubit admits Laidley are under pressure to remain on top of the ladder but knows their rivals are under just as much, if not more.