Junior and senior Coast cricket cancelled
UPDATE: All Sunshine Coast Cricket Association senior and junior fixtures for Saturday have been cancelled due to Brisbane's COVID-19 lockdown
Scorchers Premier Grade matches this weekend have also been cancelled.
Where applicable, two-day matches will revert to One Day games as per weather stoppages.
This follows the announcement of the three-day Brisbane COVID-19 lockdown.
While the Coast region is not part of the enforced lockdown, many players at Caboolture and Glasshouse clubs reside in affected areas leaving many teams short.
The semi-finalists look easy to pick as SCCA Division 1 fixtures restart for the New Year, and the real estate motto of "Position, Position, Position!" will be foremost in the minds of all captains.
Glasshouse, Maroochydore, Caboolture and Tewantin-Noosa are bunched in a nine-point spread with an almost 40 point gap to fifth placed Gympie, a margin unlikely to be overcome. The real prize now is the minor premiership, for last season's finish when no finals games were played will be fresh in the minds of all.
Maroochydore held the top spot, then the title after the weather intervened, and now we have a La Nina season with patterns resembling those of a decade ago.
The value of wins post-Christmas is magnified by the prospect of draws, making a first day lead a huge insurance policy against the second day washout.
Leaders Glasshouse meet Caboolture at Grant Road, and another factor in this clash will be a last minute determination of the fitness of the Snakes' Glen Batticciotto.
He left the field against Nambour, unbeaten on 55, with a calf tear on October 31, and his season aggregate of 688 runs at that stage has still not been passed two months later.
In the meantime, captain Matt Schubert has stepped up with the added responsibility, and the return of the Coast's best batsman will be a boost against the table leaders, who have earned the position with a first rate attack bankrolling a still-inconsistent batting line-up.
Dan Cahill has amassed over 600 runs to back up his association trophy last season, and has the patience for the longer games, as does skipper Jeremy Schultz.
If Liam Moffett and Tim Taylor can add consistency to their talents, the Rangers may start to think of an era 35 years gone.
Tewantin-Noosa has an inconsistency problem as well with the bat, a deficit also often remedied by the bowlers, and from fourth position will have to run the weather gauntlet twice. At home against Nambour, who think themselves a good chance, the Thunder have the opportunity to make a statement about reliability.
The Cutters have unearthed a good deal of personal bests this season as an unproven squad broke new ground, although admittedly from a low base.
Led by Steve Ledger who is cementing his own place in local history, and hopefully assisted by the top order, the Cutters can expand their ambitions past survival with both bat and ball, and experience the vicarious thrill of upsetting the top four placings.
Gympie has this chance as well, when the Gold travel to Kev Hackney Oval, home of the second placed Swans.
All sides are wary of the Gold's unpredictability, especially with Steve Brady as a destroyer of mediocre bowling, although through his more relaxed partnering with captain Lewis Waugh, the Gold now have a top pairing able to bat long.
Maroochydore's batting has been lifted by the breakthrough of Zak Willox, whose 230 runs in the three longer games have provided the Swans with a base for their bowlers to exploit, and a middle step between the spontaneous Callum Stitt and the accumulator Blaine Schloss. Taking wickets has been no problem for the home side, now a reliable number three adds that little extra insurance.
Caloundra and Coolum have their own tussle at Henzell Oval, where the opportunity to grab sixth position with a Nambour loss would be most appealing.
The Lighthouse batting showed little life without skipper Wally Wright in the pre-break finale, with the same applying to the Sharks at Nambour.
This could be the most important clash for either side, as meetings with the top four contenders loom.
Points after Round 17: Glasshouse 92.15, Maroochydore 87.97, Caboolture 85.04, Tewantin-
Noosa 83.38, Gympie 44.14, Nambour 42.52, Coolum 37.40, Caloundra 35.61.