Sport

Queensland Country in mix for national cricket crown

EXPERIENCE COUNTS: Len Martin and Ben O’Connell.
EXPERIENCE COUNTS: Len Martin and Ben O’Connell. Sarah Harvey

EXPERIENCE counts for plenty.

It is the reason Len Martin is certain Queensland Country will do better at the upcoming national country cricket championships than their third place last summer.

Ipswich-based Martin is coaching the team for the second successive year and is confident he and the players now know what it will take to win the championships, beginning in Bundaberg on January 3.

But while home advantage might seem like a huge bonus, history suggests otherwise.

"All the planning is done and we're all ready to go," Martin said.

"I always go in confident.

"It is our home championships but there tends to be a lot more pressure.

"There is greater expectation on the players and from the supporters.

"And Bundaberg really gets behind their cricket.

"In 2003 there were a lot of spectators."

Only two teams have won their home titles (WA in 2010-11 and Victoria in 2006-07) since Queensland took it out in Toowoomba in 1996-97.

But Martin has a simple strategy to try and counter the trend.

"It is difficult because of the pressure you put on yourself," he said.

If we can avoid putting so much pressure on ourselves by treating it as though we are playing away from home, it should help.

"I'm confident we're well enough equipped to go well."

"We're good enough.

"This year we've probably got a bit better blend."

Last year's experience plays a big part in Martin's confidence.

"The experience the fellas gained last year will stand them in good stead this year," he said.

"They've got the experience of what it's like to lose games they should have won."

"Hopefully we do a lot better than third," Martin said.

"I don't think we played well enough in pressure situations."

That included collapsing against NSW, from 4-190 to all out for 235 chasing 240 and failing to defend 270 against Northern Territory.

"We had to toughen up mentally and we will," Martin said.

"There will be no backing off because the players all know their roles.

"Last year we were setting those roles up.

"Now they know their roles, they will execute them very well.

"Last year our execution in two games was very poor."

Martin expects big things from second-time skipper Ben O'Connell, who captained the Country Inferno to take out the KFC T20 Challenge earlier this month.

"Ben will be a lot tougher and a lot better," Martin said.

I couldn't fault him last year but he's got more experience now. He's a quality player and person and a good leader.

For Martin, "no backing off" means targeting a win in very game.

"The attitude and approach is to win every game," he said.

"Then you don't have to worry about other results going your way at the back end of the championships."

The Queensland Country squad will meet for two warm-up games against the Queensland under-19s on December 31 and January 1 at Allan Border Field, Albion.

Ipswich-based shadow squad member Craig Cumming has been forced to withdraw due to a shoulder injury.

Topics:  len martin national country cricket championships queensland country



A-League recruit back with Ipswich club

Striker Harrison Sawyer wins the race to the ball playing for the Newcastle Jets against Central Coast in last season's A-League. Sawyer is back playing for Western Pride in the National Premier Leagues competition.

Sawyer maintains professional approach with Pride

Dead toddler, 2, had 'significant burns', say police

Emergency services were called to a home at Northgate after reports a young girl had stopped breathing. Picture: 7 News Queensland

Police said a man and a woman are insisting with inquiries.

5 things to do in Ipswich this weekend

Don't forget to give generously to the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal this weekend. Collectors will be out knocking on doors, as well as operating static collection points around the city.

SEE what's on this weekend around Ipswich

Local Partners

Baywatch: Lifeguards with model looks return for 'filthy fun'

TWO chiselled men emerge from the surf. One looks like a god. The other, well, he's gasping for air and doesn't realise there's a jellyfish on his chest.

Home town support spurs on Ipswich chef

CONTENDER: Judges have praised the work of Ipswich cook Ben Ungermann, who has avoided the dreaded elimination rounds.

Ben gets a little sweeter

Shannon Noll: What I don't like about The Voice

ON TOUR: Shannon Noll will perform in Ipswich on June 3 as part of a 35-show run.

Australian Idol veteran talks reality TV during 35-date Aussie tour

Model Bella Hadid's see-through dress shocks in Cannes

US model Bella Hadid attends the Cinema Against AIDS amfAR gala 2017 held at the Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc in Cap d'Antibes, France, 25 May 2017.

It’s like she’s become addicted to shock value.

No room for morbid fans

Chris Cornell.

Fans want to stay in the hotel room where Chris Cornell died

Star Wars' 1977 Stormtrooper head banger confesses

A Stormtrooper is responsible for the biggest blunder in a Star Wars movie. Picture: Supplied

Man in most famous blooper in Star Wars history breaks silence

MASTERCHEF: David Thompson Thai test for Ipswich cook Nicole

Willowbank's Nicole Stevenson is a contestant on MasterChef Australia. Supplied by Channel 10.

"I love how he's being so true to the cuisine"

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

'Ridiculous': Council refuses renovation at heritage home

NOT FAIR: Karen Solomon of Newtown is angry with Ipswich City Council for refusing her plans to build a colonial style double car port at her Newtown home.

Council rejected development application

Council refusal of 'high density' development ends in court

Ipswich City Council first meeting with the new 2016 council.

Developer took the matter to the Queensland Planning Court

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!