Gympie XI still in final hunt
CRICKET: Caboolture and Gympie will continue the battle for SCCA Division 1 dominance this weekend after a rain-affected second day ended with the Gold on 4-77 chasing 283.
Despite Caboolture holding a slight edge in the final, Gold captain Kaden Dickfos is still confident the Gympie boys can take the title.
After winning the toss on an autumn scorcher, Dickfos sent Caboolture in to bat on a dry, flat wicket and fast outfield. Old heads shared quizzical looks, which turned to nods, when the captain's first delivery took an inside edge to the stumps off Rod Gibbs, one of the Coast's prize wickets.
After Clayton Simpson nicked to Steve Brady from brother Josh, the board read 2-1 in the second over.
Then the first ball Luke Schmelzkopf faced was dropped at gully, averting total chaos, though the writing seemed on the wall. It wasn't.
Schmelzkopf and Andrew Schablon worked to drinks at 2-49 as movement stopped and the track became the placid thoroughfare expected.
The Gold lack a recognised spinner. But now Shaun Savage feels he has slowed enough for the role, finding some unexpected lift to surprise Schablon on 24.
Early afternoon points went to the batsmen, with Schmelzkopf's square shots punishing poor length and Wilson working more freely. But at 32, he edged behind.
Ryan Baker went for one then Schmelzkopf skied a needless explosion with a century waiting at 80.
And when Cameron Garnham abandoned his fabled discipline as the tea break loomed to bunt to Brady, the Snakes went off at 7-175. Gympie would have been relieved after the mid-session threat and a chase of around 200 seemed likely.
Caboolture's tail has pulled off some momentous rescues this summer and again demonstrated to the top-order that persistence and luck are a good combination.
Matt Anderson provided 25 with his experience dulling the attack, while Toby Millyard and Rhys Nickalls took the smile and possibly the game from the Gold with a 70-run partnership, mixing shots, skill and tail end bravado, especially from the younger Nickalls.
His 40 took all momentum from Gympie, as 220, then 250 passed, and when Millyard holed out for a 54 which summed up his 163-game, 296-wicket value to his side, Gympie faced a 283 target as a huge test.
Nightwatchmen Dan Shepperson and Zac Gagen negotiated the final two overs of the day and started afresh on Sunday morning, batting for 40 minutes and 17 runs before Shepperson edged behind.
Then real damage was done when a scoreless Lewis Waugh dragged on to give Rhys Nichalls his second scalp.
Kaden Dickfos settled in with his young partner to reach 35 in the 32nd over as rain brought a halt to play.
When the teams took the field again before tea, Matt Anderson ended Zac Gagan's brave marathon as nightwatchman on 18, and just before light stopped the 65 overs of play permitted, added the valuable wicket of Steve Brady to his portfolio.
From 4-77, the Gold need a serious contribution from Dickfos to match his 5-89 plus its equal by Josh Brady to close an impressive gap.
Dickfos said five dropped catches let Caboolture off the hook but was backing his side to score the needed runs this Saturday.
He said he was expecting the pitch to suit the batsmen this weekend and if the Gold made no mistakes with the bat they could take the title.