Not so lucky for rising Bulls batter

 Marnus Labuschagne.
Marnus Labuschagne.

Sport by its nature throws up as many hard-luck stories as it does fairytales.

Queensland almost pulled off an against-the-odds win earlier in the week in its Shield game against the Warriors in Perth.

In a drama-charged last day, the Bulls almost snatched a win that would have put them in the box seat to potentially host the Shield final.

Instead, the loss means this weekend's top-of-the-table clash with Victoria at the Gabba remains a must-win game to produce a fairytale finish to the season. But the flip side is the hard-luck story for my Bulls teammate Marnus Labuschagne.

The young bloke has had a really solid year, and with the knowledge Test opener Joe Burns was coming back knew his best currency was going to be more runs if he wanted to keep his spot.

He did his bit, scoring a first-innings century and a determined half-century against the Warriors, but was still squeezed out when Burnsy was chosen to play this week. Credit to Marnus, though, he has had a big week at training and will front up this weekend for Redlands in the Brisbane premier grade semi-finals.

Burnsy has slotted back into the Queensland squad neatly. He always makes sure he works very hard when he comes back from the Australian camp, and seems to be relishing the challenge ahead of opening at the Gabba.

The pitch is one of the few in the country where bowlers start licking their lips when they see it, even if the batsmen know once they get set there are runs to be had.

Queensland finds itself in a rare position of having plenty of batsmen scoring runs, and bowlers taking wickets.

The state's second XI polished off a big outright win over the ACT yesterday at Allan Border Field, with old hands Luke Feldman (7-30) and Pete Forrest (80) leading from the front.

Sport also throws up its share of champions, and cricket lost one of its best with the passing of the New Zealand great Martin Crowe.

I know that in his home country he was revered. Knocking around with Kiwi champions like Dan Vettori and Shane Bond with the Brisbane Heat this season, the "Crowey" stories they told were invariably about his qualities as a batsman and as a person, both of which were about as high as you could accomplish.

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