Cricket rivals on finals tightrope
IT'S all come down to a final, riveting weekend of regional cricket.
After some outstanding performances in the latest two-day Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association first division matches, three teams are still in the hunt for the semi-final.
Eastern Taipans, Centrals and Brothers have everything to play for this weekend.
If Centrals can beat Brothers in their last qualifying match at Mark Marsh Oval, they can finish in second and secure a home semi-final.
That outcome also depends on runaway competition leaders Laidley beating Eastern Taipans in this weekend's other vital match at Bichel Oval.
Second placed Taipans had a mixed weekend, securing first innings points but losing outright to last year's grand finalists Swifts in a low-scoring encounter at Bruce Raleigh Oval.
After making just 118 over 40 overs, Taipans struck back to skittle Swifts for 111.
Batting a second time, Taipans were rolled for 55 in 25.4 overs before Swifts reached the total at 4/65 off 18.3 overs.
Dylan Hickson snared 5/13 for Swifts.
Centrals worked hard gaining first innings points and chasing an outright result against Thunder at Mark Marsh Oval. They were 1/18 in their second innings chasing 60 to secure maximum points.
However, Brothers are still in the mix after beating Northsiders on the first innings at Ivor Marsden Sporting Complex.
After dismissing Northsiders for 229, Brothers made 9/274 to keep their final hopes alive.
Centrals coach Scott Barrett was pondering all the options after a whole-hearted bowling effort against Thunder.
"It was a good hitout,'' Barrett said.
"It was pretty hot yesterday.
"The wicket was hard, like a road.
"We had to toil hard to get wickets.''
The Centrals attack did just that, sharing the scalps in dismissing Thunder for 95 in 50.2 overs.
Led by Australian Country representative Ben O'Connell with 71 not out, Centrals declared at 4/158 before ousting Thunder a second time for 127.
Opening quick Nick Vellacott snared 4/20 and Rhys O'Sullivan took 3/14 in another fine effort.
"The bowling performance was top class,'' Barrett said.
However, Centrals ran out of time to grab the extra points.
Despite that, Barrett was optimistic Centrals could win this weekend.
"We've basically got to win (against Brothers),'' Barrett said.
"Our goal then is to host a semi-final.''
Centrals and Laidley play in tonight's T20 grand final.