Gympie opener elevated to premier grade
CRICKET: In-form opening batsman Brendan Mahaffey will get his first crack at Premier Grade this season when the Scorchers meet his old side Toombul at John Blanck Oval on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Gympie resident returned to the Sunshine Coast's premier side this year after he spent the past three seasons at Oxenham Park.
Mahaffey is one of a handful of local players who've returned to the Coast fold for 2016/17 under new coach Ashley Holznagel, and the side now finds itself inside the top-four after a clutch outright win over South Brisbane last weekend.
Toombul currently sits 12th on the myFootDr Premier Grade table after a sluggish start in the pre-Christmas period.
But Mahaffey is wary of 'the faithful' and some of their big-hitting batsmen and lightning opening bowlers, in particular, the youngest batsman to make his debut for Queensland since Martin Love in 1993, 20-year-old Matt Renshaw.
He also mentioned the likes of Charlie Hemphrey and opening bowler, the Rockhampton Rocket, Mark Thompson.
As an opening batsman, Mahaffey said he appreciated the two-day format of the game and enjoys building a long innings.
Protecting his wicket was something his father instilled in him from a young age.
"You need good defence first and then the attack will come from there,” he said.
"At first it's about leaving a lot of balls and then building as the day goes on. (Ashley)'s really keen on getting to the last session then dominating from there.”
Mahaffey said he enjoyed his time at Toombul and learnt a lot about his game but is now relishing his time back at the Sunshine Coast.
After a relatively slow start to the season which included innings of 1 and 3, his last two innings in second grade have been a strong 103 against Ipswich/Logan, before he smashed 119 against Souths last weekend.
He's eager to continue his form into Saturday's first-grade clash which starts at 9am.
"I'm really enjoying my cricket and enjoying the change of clubs,” he said.
"Living at Gympie, it's a bit less travelling and the coach has been really good. He's had confidence in my game. He just told me to play my natural game. Having him say that gives me confidence.”
Fellow Gympie resident Kaden Dickfos has been dropped back to second grade.