Pioneers set bar high on way to glory
The 2012 Queensland Times-City of Ipswich Sports Awards will recognise the best regional talent at a gala function on November 3. Team of the year is one of the most coveted awards. QT sportswriter Paul Smeaton today previews the three finalists.
IPSWICH waited nine years to have a team accepted into the renowned Ian Healy under-12 development cricket carnival.
However, it took only five days to etch the Ipswich name on the trophy.
The youngsters were Pioneers by name and by nature as they battled highly credentialed opponents and heatwave conditions to take the prestigious title.
The boys won all five of their games over the five-day carnival and set a standard that will be hard to match in future years.
Ipswich junior co-ordinator Wayne Bichel, whose son Riley won individual awards for best bowling average and most wickets, said the result exceeded all expectations.
"We were over the moon just to get in, because when you look at the teams in the tournament it's pretty much a Queensland championships field," Bichel said.
"We felt if we got through the week and won one or two games it was a great result.
"The first two days were played in 40-degree heat and on the first day we made 200 and on the second we chased 200.
"We were flabbergasted about how well they went."
Each time the youngsters were challenged they responded with standout performances and Bichel said different boys led from the front in each win.
"The kids that missed out on day one were the kids standing up with the bat and the ball on Thursday and Friday," he said.
"It was really a team effort right down to coach Tony Potbury."
The Ian Healy Cup is set to become a key component to the pathway for Ipswich junior cricketers in coming years.
With the development of the Ipswich/Logan Hornets, Bichel said this team could use this result to springboard them through the rest of their junior careers.
"We've worked had to give these kids a clear pathway through to state and national honours," he said.
"For these boys to perform the way they did, particularly when we really had our backs to the wall, is a credit to their attitude."