WATCH: Bold prediction becomes grand final reality
CRICKET: When your side missed out on the wooden spoon by a whisker one year, most would call you crazy for predicting you'd win the grand final just 12 months down the track.
But that's exactly what Sunshine Coast Scorchers seconds stalwart Arthur Soanes did before a ball was bowled in anger at the start of the Queensland Premier Cricket season.
Few know the Scorchers like Soanes does, as the 27-year-old prepares to play his 87th reserve grade game in this weekend's grand final against University.
"Let's hope (87) isn't an unlucky number this time,” he said.
"I didn't even realise it was that many games.”
The left-arm quick has only played six games of first grade in that time, largely due to work commitments across Queensland in the past decade. He now travels to Brisbane most days a week to work as an electrician, but still manages to find the time to train regularly at Buderim.
It was at one of these sessions where he made his bold prediction to captain Jacob Dennien.
"I told him 'we're going to win the grand final',” Soanes said.
"(Last) Saturday I glanced over at (Dennien) and he was smiling ear to ear. Last year was a pretty shit season so I said 'let's go all the way to the granny this year' and he said 'yes, let's do it'.”
Soanes arrived at the club for the 2006/07 season after coming through the grades at Landsborough and Glasshouse, one year after the seconds' last premiership success. He said there was plenty of good people at the club to show him the ropes. In the past few years the seconds has been mostly made up of promising, young cricketers, looking to make it in first-grade.
It cost the side, as it lacked experience against some seasoned grade cricketers.
"It's been a pretty big transition period. There was a couple of years when we were inexperienced ... after you've been there for a while you step-up and look to be a role model for the boys,” Soanes said.
"This year we've got a lot of guys who have played first grade. There is lots of experience for a second grade side. Even some of the younger boys have had a taste of playing in the firsts.”
Indeed, players including - but not limited to - Josh Tyson, Steven Heise, Brendan Mahaffey and keeper John Pechey have spent time in the state's premier competition.
Heise, Soanes, Tom Freshwater and Michael Goodluck have provided a dangerous bowling attack for the side which has only dropped one match on first-innings points this season.
"I'd say we've definitely got one of the strongest attacks I've ever played in and the strongest second grade attack (in the competition),” Soanes said.
Soanes would love nothing more than to bring some silverware back to the club after four days of cricket over two weekends, and if the persistent rain on the Coast this week hangs around, a draw will be enough to do it.
Scorchers president Mark Hall told the Daily last week that a strong second grade side said plenty about the strength of a club, and with the likes of Soanes looking to hang around, it could remain that way for some years.
He has no plans to have a serious tilt at a return to the top-flight.
"I'm pretty happy,” Soanes said.
"I said that to myself last year and this year. I'm happy to play second grade, get a good side going and really enjoy my cricket.”
Play starts at 10am on Saturday and Sunday, and will continue next Saturday and Sunday.