CRICKET: Maroochydore and Gympie will rehearse next Tuesday's Caloundra Events Centre T20 final this weekend, as they clash in round 5 of SCCA Division 1 fixtures.
The one-day 50-over format will be less hectic than the do-or-die 20-over sprint, but the sides will have a good look at each other, with some leading players absent from the cast that took the field for last season's one day final, won by the Swans.
Steve Brady, the bowlers' nightmare in limited overs, is still sidelined by the knee injury suffered in the Country Trials at Mackay, reducing the Gold firepower also missing returned Scorcher Kaden Dickfos. Maroochydore is without top bat Craig Davies, working away permanently.
Both sides still have the talent to cope, with Trevor Brady hopping into his brother's shoes, as demonstrated by his 140 against Nambour, and the unveiling of the strokeplay of Dan Shepperson, who is the competition's leading runscorer on 261 (average 87). Maroochydore showed depth and speed to belt 140 in 28 overs against the Cutters while the storm closed in last week, and Adam Thornton and Dan Hall have a surprisingly productive tail for support in the final overs. On a good Kev Hackney strip and fast outfield, the bowlers on either side could find the going hard if they stray.
Nambour would have been disappointed to be treated in such a cavalier fashion after setting a very competitive 220 against the Swans, but will need more penetration with the ball to rise up the ladder. Facing Glasshouse, who produced a lacklustre batting effort against Tewantin, a similar total could be more rewarding.
The bye could cost Tewantin-Noosa the competition lead if Caboolture maintains its unbeaten run against Caloundra, a good bet looking at their respective results so far. The Snakes have lifted with the return of Andy Schablon and the sound start from Ryan Baker with the bat, adding to the skills of Glen Batticciotto, who may be called upon to do more with the ball after Matt Parkinson looks doubtful following a training accident.
The Lighthouses are a work in progress, and need to concentrate on the simple things as they develop. Patience is one, plus keeping the sundries down. Conceding 55 extras as was done against Gympie is just giving the opposition another good batsman.
LADDER: Twtin-Noosa 47, Gympie 41, Caboolture 35, M'dore 27, Nambour 24, Glasshouse 21, Caloundra 11.
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