Gold looks to make Gympie cricket history
CRICKET: Gympie Gold all-rounder Travis Chandler (pictured) has seen it all at when it comes to Gympie cricket.
Floods, massive wins, heavy losses, club games, rep games - he's even been a Helltown Hillbilly.
What he is yet to see is a Gympie Gold premiership.
Today is his last chance to see one, and his team mates will do everything they can to secure it for him.
After today's grand final decider in the Sunshine Coast Division 1 premiership against the Caboolture Snakes, Chandler will hang up his whites and head to Scotland.
The 28-year-old will follow his partner, Gill Cairney, to live in Scotland next month so today marks his last game with the Gold.
Chandler has been a regular fixture in the Gold for last decade as a standout bowler, but skipper Kaden Dickfos said there was also a list of behind-the-scenes jobs Chandler took on to keep the team going.
Dickfos said he'd love nothing more than to send Chandler off with a win.
"He's a massive part of the team," he said. "We've got to do what we can to make sure he goes out a winner."
Gympie faces an all-or-nothing batting struggle to reach a daunting 283 target against Caboolture today.
The Gold is 4-77 but has Dickfos and key all-rounder Josh Brady at the crease.
"It (that partnership) is pretty crucial," Dickfos said.
"Even without scoring too many runs, we've just got to make sure we don't give Caboolture any early momentum in taking our wickets. We need to get through that first hour of the day and reassess from there.
"We're still well and truly in it, which is good.
"We can show up with a positive attitude and we know the blokes who have still got to bat have one last job to do."
The Gold gambled on the weather and lost last weekend when Dickfos sent the Snakes in, disregarding the "bat first when it's dry in March" adage that has proved so valuable over the years.
TWO early wickets gave short-term vindication, but a dropped catch and perfect batting conditions enabled the Snakes to recover from 2-1 to reach 283.
The Caboolture tail wore down the ball and the spirit of the attack, turning a teatime 7-156 into a total of substance, leaving the challengers with an improvised opening duo at the crease to last two overs at day's end.
Then the weather entered the equation. Early showers softened the bowling approach at the northern end, limiting the run-ups, but Zac Gagen and Dan Shepperson had a survival chore to complete, and this they did, with Shepperson falling after 40 minutes at 1-17.
But the sky was ominous, as leaden as Lewis Waugh's feet, as he was bowled without scoring, and at 11.47am, the first stoppage came at 2-36 off 32 overs.
The field was 50 runs slower than day one and though the sodden ball was to provide less purchase for the Caboolture spinners, the medium-paced accuracy plus a softer cherry enabled the Snakes to stifle scoring.
Dickfos had the temperament to play to the situation as the game moved on and off the field, but Matt Anderson picked off a courageous Gagen and at the end, the prize wicket of Steve Brady.
The Gympie innings will resume at 4-77 after 65 overs, a scoring rate foreign to the Gold, with Josh Brady joining his captain at the crease.
Today this pair has no time constraints, with 207 to get in a day, and both possesses the talent and pedigree to persevere.
Dickfos is a Queensland Country representative and his partner has the enviable season record of 544 runs and 42 wickets to-date, one of the great all-round feats.
What they must do is to build the innings of success on wearing down the constant pressure from a Caboolture unit that thrives on choking batsmen.
The field will be greener and slower, the fieldsmen will be keener, and the stakes higher.
At least one of the pair needs a century and the following batsmen must keep up the chase for their greatest victory.