Contenders, pretenders emerging in division one

KEY MAN: .Nambour batsman Steve Ledger cuts at Read Park.
KEY MAN: .Nambour batsman Steve Ledger cuts at Read Park. Geoff Potter

CRICKET: Gympie's bye in the SCCA division 1 fixtures this weekend will bring a more accurate picture of standings after each of the seven sides has taken its one round off.

At the head of the field is Tewantin-Noosa, who would love to lead at the extended Christmas break after being in the second tier of premiership candidates at the onset. The Thunder host Nambour, back to full strength for a clash that needs to be won to keep in touch.

The Cutters have a new dynamic duo as Josh Matthews joins Steve Ledger in aggression at the crease, though the youngster's 500 runs in a short top division career is more than 5000 behind his skipper's tally. With Tom Dean normally a soothing influence between the pair, vital in the longer format, one day both are going to fire together to produce a nightmare for bowlers.

Steve Shaw's vibrant 62 for the Thunder against Caloundra gave a sign of the ability dormant for eighteen months, but class never disappears, and it may be a sign his scoring vacation is over. Confidence is high at Read Park, with the home side looking to provide another show of solidarity against an attack that can bleed runs.

The Rangers, a loss away from being out of the top four as they battle Caboolture at Glasshouse, welcome back Liam Moffett and new 250-gamer Jeremy Schultz to a batting unit that follows 97 all out with 4/323 a week later. Perhaps Brett Milini will have the patience to keep the board ticking while Matt Anderson and Andy Schablon search for impetuous strokes, seeking the score of 68 he needs to join a group of just five members, the 7000 run club.

Caboolture are unworried in the one-dayers so far, but need the win to maintain the lead, especially with the bye next week. The only question about the Snakes is their batting depth, though they have always provided the correct answer.

Maroochydore can displace a losing Glasshouse with winning points against Caloundra, a bankable proposition at Kev Hackney Oval where the Swans posted a record 8/356 in the similar round last year. Unsettled through injury and absence, the home side needs to regain the rhythm and confidence to dominate. A strong showing against the learning Lighthouses could help the process.

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