Swifts title hopes on the line
TEAMS have plenty to play for in the last round before the Christmas break.
With Northsiders having the bye, Central Districts and Eastern Taipans can put a handy little gap on the rest of the competition with wins today.
Taipans (206), thanks to captain Brodie Dwyer and his maiden first grade ton, are in a commanding position against Thunder (4/54).
Thunder still has experienced Matt Muller and Trent Kammholz to bat but they will need help from the tail to get close.
However, if Vaughan Oldham and Marty Henderson continue their recent form, Taipans should make it two wins from two games in the two-day competition.
Centrals (3/56) too were in a very strong position with two overs to go in the day last Saturday.
However, the home team lost three late wickets to give Brothers a chance of defending their 136.
Brothers get back their two best bowlers, Craig Cumming and David Richardson, so if they can make early inroads they may be able to upset Centrals.
With the in-form Adam O'Sullivan to come and with Caleb Risson and Jason O'Sullivan who are both overdue for runs, the Kookaburras are still slight favourites to get home.
In the other game at Bichel Oval, Swifts (134) are in trouble against premiers Laidley (2/48).
If Swifts fail to secure a victory, they will probably need to win nearly all their remaining games to challenge for the premiership.
Swifts have plenty of fighting spirit and it will not be easy for Laidley with Nigel van de Wert and Cam Wood both in form. They are sitting on 18 wickets so far this season.
Laidley will be buoyed by the return of Michael Sippel to their batting list.
Second grade update
NORTHSIDERS and Fassifern meet today in a match which will have a big bearing on the semi-final race.
After skittling Fassifern for 167, Northsiders (3/34) have stumbled.
With a top three semi-final system, Northsiders will need to win or there will be a big gap, maybe an insurmountable one between the top three of Centrals, Laidley and Fassifern, and the rest.
Much will rely on Ryan Benson and former Queensland Country keeper Andrew Walsh in getting the Tigers home after losing three quality batsmen last weekend.
Fassifern have been the benchmark team in that grade for a long time so they will always be tough to beat.
In other games, Centrals (237) are in a strong position against Brothers (5/50).
Laidley (6/164) already have first innings against Swifts (125) and Taipans are on the verge of an outright win over Thunder.
Third grade review
TODAY is also the last fixture in Third Grade.
A bonus point win by Thunder Storm (61) against Brothers White see them get past Centrals (69) at the top of the top table. Centrals are on the bye.
Laidley (56) are in third and will have to win and then rely on Brothers White to upset the Storm to advance to second.
Fourth-placed Swifts Red (43) take on bottom Thunder Bolts. If the Reds are defeated, Taipans (37) and Northsiders (38) have a chance to sneak into top four and a semi berth.
Trio fly rep flag
ALEX Welsh, Ben O'Connell and Luke Barrett will fly the flag for Ipswich in the South Queensland team this weekend.
They will take on Northern Suburbs at Kedron today and Sunshine Coast at Ashgrove tomorrow in the T20 games.
If South Queensland secure top spot in their pool, they will play the final at AB Field tomorrow afternoon.
Harry on a high
EXCITING Laidley talent Harry Wood finished his National Under 19 campaign in fine style with his third half century of the tournament. He scored a run a ball 63 against Tasmania.
Wood scored 364 runs at 45.5 in a great campaign.
This will give him great confidence as he is a vital cog for the third-placed Hornets and their push for a semi-final berth.
Laidley up in T20 thriller
ON Monday night Laidley (6/168) edged out Northsiders (8/158) in a high quality T20 game.
Laidley, with the ever reliable Wilson brothers (Dan 24 off 19, Chris 34 off 24 and Anthony 54 off 30), got them off to a flyer before Glenn Lachlan (3/23) sparked a Northsiders' fightback in the middle of the innings.
A cameo by Ben Gibson (23 runs off 18 balls) at the end pushed the score to a massive 6/168.
Northsiders gamely set out but lost early wickets through run outs.
Amila Weththasinghe (42 off 16 balls) ensured the middle order had a chance with an entertaining innings.
Veteran Stephen Humphreys (26 off 25) played his first top line game since February 1996. With the assistance of captain Ryan Benson with an unbeaten 35 off 37, he kept the Tigers in the hunt.
Two crucial wickets to Jack Wood (2/32) towards the end tipped the game in Bluedogs favour.
Young Hornet paceman Ryan Plummer was best bowler on the night with 2/11 off his three overs.