By Randall Woodley
The Sunshine Coast Cricket Association declared last Saturday as PINK STUMPS DAY where every team, Junior, Senior and Women were encouraged to buy pink wristbands and use pink stumps in support of Cancer Awareness and raise funds for the Bloomhill Cancer Care Centre at Buderim. The Tewantin-Noosa Thunder Club supported the initiative and every player took the field wearing the pink bands whilst others, replaced their bat grips with pink ones and one team even wore pink caps.
On the field, the Firsts and Fifths are well placed to take outright points next Saturday, whereas the other two will need to play above themselves to win their matches. The season is now at the pointy-end and it is imperative that every team ensures they are in the four top teams on the ladder so they can contest the finals beginning on the first weekend in March.
FIRST GRADE: The team were at Coolum for the first of three final two-day fixture matches of the season. Winning the toss captain Jake Dennien had no hesitation bowling, setting his team the goal of a First Innings Win on Day 1 and to safeguard them from any bad weather next weekend and to set the team up for an outright win.
The pitch was flat and slow and the outfield had long cut grass lying near the boundaries. It was going to be a hard slog for the bowlers and Coolum got off to a slow start being 1-22 at the first drinks break. Tom Freshwater and Tom Stewart bowled well without luck with a couple of tough chances going down and edges not carrying. Then young gun Harrison Lea picked up 2 quick wickets and at lunch the Sharks were 4-65.
A wicket to Dom Taylor straight after lunch had them reeling at 5-70. He bowled twenty overs straight from one end and finished with 2 for 29. Coolum were all out for 126 with Tom Freshwater picking up two late wickets to have 4 for 38 off his 21 overs. Tom Stewart had taken a wicket and wicketkeeper Cody Pyne threw down a wicket at the bowlers end to affect a great run-out.
With 26 overs left to chase 126, it was going to be tough on the slow pitch and outfield but the skipper told the team they were to go for the target. Opener Chris Wright picked up from where he left off last week belting 31 off 16 balls before Coolum realised the run chase was on. Jarrod Officer (30) and Alex Bennett got the Thunder to 97 before the next wicket fell.
At 3-110 Andrew Kratzmann joined Bennett and they were able to pass Coolum’s score in the last over of the day. Bennett is 52 no. and Kratzmann 8 no. Goal 1 for the game was achieved and now the team have a chance to push for the outright next Saturday.
THIRD GRADE: Playing at home the team won the toss and elected to bat against ladder-leaders Maroochydore Swans. TNT started slowly and were 1-18 after 10 overs. From there the run rate increased thanks to a good range of shots from club coach Matt Pola and Adam Curry. However, with a series of wickets falling cheaply, the team finished with a disappointing 139. Top scorers were Pola 27, Adam Curry 33, Leon Beatty 23 and Robbie Payton 14.
With 20 overs left in the day the Swans came out swinging, obviously trying to run down the total before stumps. They pushed their luck and after losing a wicket on 65, they shut up shop for the last few overs. Next week the Thunder will need quick early wickets to stay in the game.
FIFTH GRADE: The boys took on the Glasshouse Rangers in a tussle for fourth spot at Dale Officer Oval. Winning the toss, TNT had no hesitation in sending the visitors into bat. Mike “Rowdy” Thomson and Luke Anstey opened the attack and from the onset had the Rangers on the backfoot, with some consistent line and length bowling. With runs hard to come by, the Rangers waited patiently for a bowling change not realizing Thomson was gearing up to bowl from one end all day.
With each successive bowling changes, the Ranger’s batsmen struggled to score runs and were eventually dismissed for 63 with 19 overs of play remaining. At stumps TNT were 3 for 37, well on the way to a first innings win. Best bowlers for TNT were- Mike Thomson 3-18 off 19 overs, Luke Anstey 2-20, Steve Hill 2-6, Naveen Chand 1-9 and Ian Brundell 1-5
SIXTH GRADE: The team travelled to Palmwoods to take on the top placed team, needing to win to hang onto hopes of playing finals. Winning the toss, Thunder put them in to bat and it looked like the right decision early; 1-35 at first drinks and 2-93 off 40 at tea. Then Wayne Moore took three wickets in one over (missing the hat-trick) to set Palmwoods reeling and when Graham Chaplin chimed in for a wicket it looked like the innings was drawing to a close at 7-119 at the end of the 49th over. But unfortunately, their tail-end wagged and they declared at 9 for 258 with half an hour to stumps. Wicket takers for TNT were Wayne Moore 4, Graham Chaplin 2, Justin Talbot 2 and Brendan Chaplin 1. Thunder played out the last 5 overs to be 0-9 with a mountain to climb next Saturday.