Gympie Gold's Brycen Mitchell returns to the fold this week as his side faces Tewantin-Noosa. Picture: Zahner Photography
Gympie Gold's Brycen Mitchell returns to the fold this week as his side faces Tewantin-Noosa. Picture: Zahner Photography

Crucial clashes: Two-day honours become sole focus

Maroochydore and Caboolture will face each other just six days after their one-day final encounter as Round 16 of the SCCA Division 1 competition leaves behind all the limited overs formats.

Tewantin-Noosa and the Swans have claimed the T20 and one-day silverware, now the right to contest the main prize of the Division 1 premiership rests solely on two-day performances, with a ladder divided into two groups.

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Nearly 20 points separates fourth placed Maroochydore from Gympie below, a gap that needs to be narrowed before Christmas to avoid the Gold playing a long New Year catch-up. Gympie travels to meet second-placed Tewantin-Noosa, in a contest important to both, for a Thunder win could bring top spot.

Both sides have displayed worrying batting lapses with Tewantin surviving a chase of 110 by the narrowest of margins last round, and the Gold, defending a reasonable 221, bleeding 286 runs to Coolum making its highest ever score.

This week opening bowler Brycen Mitchell is back, to partner an improving Kelvin Cochrane, and the pair must match the effectiveness of Tom Freshwater and Scott Aufderheide, who have kept the Thunder boat afloat for two seasons.

Each side has match winners, but grand finals are played by teams with consistency,

and that's what's needed now.

 

Maroochydore's Blaine Schloss. Picture: Patrick Woods.
Maroochydore's Blaine Schloss. Picture: Patrick Woods.

Tewantin will be looking to Maroochydore to maintain ascendancy over table-leaders Caboolture, whom the Swans have beaten in six of their last seven encounters, and

the suspect Snakes' batting needs runs at the top, so skipper Matt Schubert has the opportunity to work with the middle order to build big totals.

The attacks at Kev Hackney Oval contain half of the competition's top 10 wicket-takers, making partnerships hard to come by, and time in the middle essential.

The Swans batting has been below par as well, with a single 50 plus score to the whole team a sad statistic, and it appears only captain Blaine Schloss can bat time.

Runs will be gold here.

Glasshouse has eyes for the top spots also, and visit a Coolum side minus last week's hero Sam Curtis, with his Achilles strain a legacy of 225 minutes at the crease for his match winning 161.

Setting examples for a team is not enough, the lead must be followed, and the Sharks face a stern test of pace and spin from Steve Heise, Heath Fischer and Joel Owen.

A 200 region score could worry the visitors, who can struggle without runs at the top.

Nambour and Caloundra have wrestled in low positions for the last few years, and then the Lighthouses' break into the top four was washed out last season, so the battle is on once more, this time at the Showgrounds.

Nambour’s Steve Ledger. Picture: John McCutcheon
Nambour’s Steve Ledger. Picture: John McCutcheon

Runs from either Wally Wright, Caloundra captain, or his Cutters' counterpart Steve Ledger, seem essential for success, though some assistance has been present along with commitment, but still irregularly from inexperienced players.

And this is a battle of old rivals, so pride comes along as well.

Division 1 points: Caboolture 68.66, Tewantin-Noosa 63.31, Glasshouse 62.32, Maroochydore

56.82, Gympie 37.21, Coolum 27.86, Caloundra 22.28, Nambour 17.87.



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