Brothers aiming for three-peat
IT'S a big game, and big games require big-game players.
In Brothers' case, there are a few who have proved they can perform when more people are watching.
Brothers will be vying for their third straight Ipswich and West Moreton one-day title when they face Laidley District at Baxter Oval tomorrow.
Laidley has contested all six one-day finals, but have stumbled against Brothers the past two times with captain Craig Cumming scoring 101 and 94 to guide Brothers home.
Luke Dixon also scored 93 in last year's final.
Both men will be keen to rekindle that form, and as Brothers prepare for Laidley, wicket-keeper batsman Jacob Sarra was confident his side could defend the title.
"I feel we're hitting our straps at the right time of the season," he said.
"Both teams are so evenly matched I reckon one good five overs can turn the game either way.
"Every time you play Laidley you know it's going to be quality cricket. You have to be at your best to beat them."
Brothers have history on their side and the psychological edge having beaten the Blue Dogs two weeks ago to sneak into the decider.
Left-arm spinner David Richardson was the star on that occasion, taking four crucial wickets to get Brothers over the line.
With Brothers likely to go into tomorrow's final with up to four spinners, the pressure will be on Laidley's batsmen to find a way to bat freely.
"It's not commonly seen that many spinners in one-day cricket, but it works for us," Sarra said.
Not short on any talent is Laidley, which boasts some of the best impact players in the competition.
Michael Sippel is the competition's leading run-scorer this season, while Jason Cubit and Brendan O'Keeffe have been a good opening partnership, contributing regularly throughout the season.
Ben Gibson and Alex Welsh have been the most consistent bowlers for the club, while all-rounder Andrew McIntosh has been one of the finds of the season with his aggressive knocks and impressive leg spinners.
With plenty of match winners capable of single-handedly taking the game away from the opposition, Sippel said Laidley would need to produce a similar effort to what Brothers have done the past two grand finals to have any chance of reclaiming the one-day title.
"They've got some good players who have performed well for them when it counts," he said.
"Two or three of their senior players played out of their skin in the last couple of grand finals and were the difference between the two teams.
"For us to win, we have to make sure two or three of our players can do the same thing for us on the big stage."
- Additional information from Wayne Jones