Ben O'Connell
Ben O'Connell Contributed

Big Ben strikes for SQ Country cap

BEN O'Connell's outstanding start to the representative season has continued with a dominant all-round performance for Southeast Queensland in the Schaeffer Shield on Saturday.

O'Connell smashed 90 off 72 balls after taking 5-38 from his 10 overs to lead his team to a bonus point win over Darling Downs and South-west Queensland City in Toowoomba.

O'Connell then left the SEQ team and headed to Sandgate where he captained the Infernos team to a massive KFC T20 Big Bash win over the Blaze.

Despite playing only one of the two SEQ games, O'Connell was the first man selected in the South Queensland squad for the Queensland Country Championships match late next month.

SEQ coach Craig Jesberg, who also coaches O'Connell at the Ipswich Pioneers, said the all-rounder was an automatic selection. "Benny was outstanding on Saturday and he was Queensland Country captain and Australian Country vice-captain last year so he has to be in the team," Jesberg said.

"Craig Cumming and Rhys O'Sullivan are the other two Ipswich boys in the team.

"They were both consistently good and deserve their spots.

"It's a really strong side and the other Ipswich guys who missed out also played well. Luke Barrett was a great example. He bowled 18 really good overs for the weekend and that will give him great experience for next year."

SEQ secured the Schaeffer Shield after winning both games over Darling Downs Country and City in convincing fashion at Captain Cook Oval.

Jesberg said the team performed well in both matches but singled out a great team performance in the field.

"We had a big opportunity on the first day to show what we could do with the bat and we grabbed that chance," Jesberg said. "The highlight though was the bowling.

"The whole team bowled well, we bowled one side of the wicket and just kept them under pressure."

Gold Coast players Shaun Fitzsimmons and Craig Mitchell were outstanding for SEQ and will be important players for Jesberg's SQ Country team.

South Queensland will take on North Queensland for the Country championship at Allan Border Field on November 24-25.

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