Sudden death for Gympie Gold
Cricket: Sudden death, perhaps at the hands of the weather, will be the outcome of the SCCA Division 1 semi-finals this weekend, when minor premiers Caboolture host Maroochydore and Glasshouse reprises its final round clash with Gympie.
Limited preparation time could affect the wickets and outfields, with the higher placed sides advancing to the grand final for drawn or abandoned games, the reward for ladder position.
Maroochydore has made five similar ventures to Grant Road in the past 15 years without success, as only Glasshouse in 2006 and Gympie three seasons ago have progressed from there in that time.
The Snakes have built a solid base for their defence of the title, with the One Day trophy already promised for presentation night.
The Swans looked into the abyss last weekend against Caloundra, with the Lighthouses 7/157 needing four runs to proceed but persevered after Adam Thornton held a cut from a settled Damien Evans that threatened to reshape his lower jaw.
Victors by one run, Maroochydore had battled to the last, showing the maturation during the season from a side that started as a shrivelled remnant of last season's grand final competitors.
Overwhelmed by Caboolture in two magnificent innings of 4/387 and 6/381 in the space of six days in January, the Swans have to remind themselves they had the fire power to post 8/379 in that second game. The Snakes are justified favourites, with depth in all the areas. To a young Swans side this gives a licence to thrill, as win they must. Glasshouse and Gympie compete for the other berth knowing each other's game well, and are well balanced in the contest.
In their past 11 meetings outside of the one-day competition, the Rangers hold the upper hand 6-5, and it's worth noting that in three of those matches, the side that held a first innings lead was defeated outright.
Volatility in batting haunts both teams, with highs and lows expected and provided, and a better source of conjecture could be to look at the bowling.
Glasshouse has the top wicket-taker Steve Heise on his home pitch, a good wicket where good bowlers are rewarded.
Jeremy Schultz boasts 373 wickets of class behind him, though his weary shoulders have gone to the middle 269 times.
Heath Fischer is boringly tight, while Ash Baartz should benefit from any grip to aid his leggies, keeping the pressure on impatient batsmen.
The Gold has Troy Ashton with 438 wickets on his list, and the experience to bowl what he wants.
Anthony Reid, Brycen Mitchell and Jake Vidler carry the torch the rest of the time with Lewis Waugh injecting himself when needed, and only one side has passed 250 against the Gold this season.
Glasshouse won last week, now we have a new game.