SEQ secures Schaeffer Shield
SOUTHEAST Queensland has won this year's Schaeffer Shield, dominating clinically in disposing of opponents Wide Bay and Darling Downs Country on consecutive days.
SEQ also took home the under-17 McPherson Shield title after securing the under-19 O'Dea Shield two weeks ago.
It is the first time any region has won all three shields in the same season, highlighting the depth of talent in the Southeast Queensland ranks.
In the open division, Ipswich all-rounder Paul Milne's second coming in representative ranks continued as he dominated with both bat and ball in Saturday's fixture against Darling Downs Country.
Opening the batting, Milne top scored for the home side with 62 before destroying the Darling Downs batting line-up with his leftarm orthodox spinners.
Milne's five wickets topped off a superb day for the 29-year-old, virtually guaranteeing him a coveted spot in the South Queensland side.
Milne said his hot form was welcome after a few lean years and he was just going along for the ride.
"It's all good at the moment," he said. "I had a bit of a day out on Saturday and even though it was pretty hard going, I didn't throw it away."
After all top-order batsmen struggled on Baxter Oval in last weekend's Webb Shield, Milne said the SEQ batsmen were more focused this time around.
"We talked about getting more ones and turning the strike over," he said.
"Benny (O'Connell) and I managed to do that pretty well."
SEQ captain O'Connell also celebrated his return to the South Queensland team with an innings of 60 as Ipswich batsmen dominated both Wide Bay and Darling Downs Country in the two Schaeffer Shield contests.
Slow bowlers dominated the wicket-taking column on Baxter Oval's turning pitch with spinners snapping up 16 of the 18 wickets to fall to SEQ bowlers.
SEQ coach Craig Jesberg praised his team's performance across the weekend.
"We were the best side by far," he said. "We strangled them at the top early on and then went through them. That's two ideal games of cricket."
Jesberg chose not to highlight individual performances, saying his side had come together in two near-faultless performances.
"Everybody put their hand up and I think we just dealt better with the pressure," Jesberg said.
"The top-order guys batted well, our spinners dominated and our quicks laid the platform early on."
After complaints were raised last week about the state of the Baxter Oval outfield, players arrived Saturday to a freshly-mown playing field, courtesy of the Ipswich City Council.
Low scores had dominated Ipswich and Webb Shield cricket in recent weeks with the lush outfield making it near impossible to hit the ball to the boundary.
Jesberg congratulated the council for recognising the problem and dealing with it.
"The council came out and took an inch off," he said.
"They cut it on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
"This is how they're going to cut it now and if they do that, there is going to be much better cricket.
"We had scores over 200 this weekend which is better for everybody."