Taipans set to strike this season
EASTERN Taipans captain Brodie Dwyer is confident he has the team to make an impact in this year's combined Ipswich Toowoomba first grade cricket competition.
He just needs the club to get through Saturday's opening match against Western Districts in Toowoomba.
The first-year skipper is among six players unavailable due to a wedding.
"We're organised. We've definitely got good numbers,'' Dwyer said.
"This wedding is just a spanner in the works for us.''
Saturday's caretaker captain will be Andrew Doyle, who will lead a young combination against a Toowoomba club side led by master batsman Brian May.
While the Taipans will be understrength for their season opener, former Ipswich Logan Hornets left-handed batsman Dwyer is expecting his side to challenge strongly, especially after three of its senior players benefited from last weekend's Bulls Masters T20 Country Challenge in Mackay.
Dwyer, fast bowler Vaughan Oldham and dashing batsman Brodie Kenyon were part of the SEQ Lightning team, which played four matches in the annual carnival.
"I think it was a really good development tool for our players,'' Dwyer said.
"It was my second year up there.
"On a personal level from a Taipans perspective, I think our players did quite well.
"Vaughan bowled especially well.
"I got a couple of good hits with the bat myself and it was a good opportunity to perform and learn from some really experienced guys like Ben O'Connell, Kev Cumming up there.
"Just developing your short form game I guess. Just learning how things are done at that next level up.
"Every year that competition is getting stronger and stronger and stronger. It was a very good semi-professional level of cricket up there.''
Dwyer took over the captaincy to help Taipans build on their positive previous season.
Englishman Louis Gegg is expected to return by round three, strengthening the side's top order batting.
Joining last year's leading wicket-taker Oldham in the bowling department will be Swifts' recruits Martin Henderson and Ray Coleman, and Russell Clarkson.
"Vaughan is the leading pace bowler in the comp,'' Dwyer said. "He's a huge asset for the club.''
Another exciting prospect joining Taipans is wicketkeeper/batsman Matthew Andrews, from Laidley.
Taipans' opening batsman Dan Packer is taking some time off before Christmas due to work commitments.
Dwyer has been a regular in the Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket competition for a number of years, playing for Brothers and having a stint with the Hornets in Brisbane grade cricket.
He's in his second season with the Taipans.
"We're looking not too bad,'' Dwyer said, planning to bat at number three.
"We've sort of established ourselves as that underdog in the competition. That's a tag that we embrace moving forward.
"That's what we want to achieve this year. Get back to that semi-final and see what we can do.
"But we're also feeling pretty confident in the one-day arena as well. We've got a few guys that can get a long ball, a few guys who can bowl quite tight and field well so we feel we're a chance at that as well.
"And we're pretty keen to get a look at these Toowoomba sides because no-one really knows what they've got apart from obviously Brian May.''
Under this season's 45 over format involving Ipswich and Toowoomba first grade club teams, the prize for the winner is the Harding Madsen One Day Shield.
Round one of the combined Ipswich-Toowoomba one day competition for the Harding Madsen Shield.
Matches on Saturday: 11.15am - Northsiders v Brothers at Keith Sternberg Oval; Centrals v Swifts at Mark Marsh Oval; Laidley District v Metropolitan-Easts; Eastern Taipans v Western Districts (Toowoomba).
11.30am: University v Thunder at USQ Oval (Toowoomba). Highfields-Railwy v Northern Brothers Diggers in Toowoomba.