Captains to play crucial roles ahead of break
Captains do much more than call “heads” or “tails” in a cricket match, and on the last day of the year of SCCA Division 1 fixtures, the spotlight will be on the performances of the local leaders.
No game will be more affected by the captains at the crease than the Nambour-Coolum clash at the Showgrounds, where the two lower-ranked sides are most likely squabbling over fifth position going into the New Year.
The Cutters set the Sharks a chase of 234 last Saturday on the back of 116 from their skipper Steve Ledger, and after resuming at 1/26, the visitors will be needing at least one big innings to reach the finish line.
Apart from early season T20s, Coolum’s two wins have been against Nambour and Gympie, and in each of those games, the driving force has been runs from Sam Curtis, 100 no and 161. The former Wairarapa first class captain in New Zealand officially retired back in 2012 after repeated knee and lower leg problems, and thought after his knock against Gympie that his Achilles tendon was saying the time is up again.
But a shortage of players at holiday time has put the asterisk beside his name once more, and he may need to emulate his Cutters’ counterpart to give Coolum their Christmas present.
Up at Gympie last Saturday, Caboolture captain Matt Schubert was in the middle chasing the Gold’s lowly 90 from a base of 3/8, and produced an innings of 69 that enabled the Snakes to walk off at 7/137, a lead of 47.
Facing a full day, the visitors are sure to have the home side back in as soon as possible to give their quality bowling unit a crack once more.
This will put the weights back on Gympie captain Lewis Waugh, whose perseverance at the top has pushed him to 528 runs for the season.
Leading a list that can be chaotic at times, former Scorcher Waugh has the benefit of a veteran like Steve Brady, and he knows how much depends on their efforts.
Fortunately, both have the temperament and technique to bat long innings both to save and win matches, yet ironically Waugh joins Caboolture’s Glen Batticciotto as the only local players to have scored a century in T20 fixtures.
Down at Hingst Oval, Tewantin-Noosa and Glasshouse are duelling over the premiership lead as one and two on the table, as the Thunder start their reply to the Rangers’ 184.
Leading the innings will be captain Jake Dennien, whose season best 89 enabled his side’s 5/312 last round, and his tenacity as an opener will be tested by the wiles of Steve Heise and
Heath Fisher, left arm quick and right arm slow, both in the top seven wicket-takers and backed up by some testing talent.
On pitches brought back to life by the rain, opening batsmen everywhere will be asked many questions by probing attacks, and Maroochydore’s Kev Hackney Oval will be no exception as Caloundra captain Wally Wright takes centre to begin Caloundra’s response to the Swans’ 258.
The skipper’s 529 is more than double the next highest contribution to the Lighthouses’ run tally, and over 25 per cent of his team’s total, so once more his task is to be there and inspire the list to stay with him, against an attack that has taken more wickets than any other club. Captains - you wouldn’t be without them.