A-grade cricket action on for 2010

THIS weekend it is back to A-grade cricket with teams playing two one-day matches at Rockhampton Cricket Ground.

“I hope the rain stays away until Sunday evening,” Gracemere skipper Michael Harth said, voicing the concerns of all the other players.

The Gracemere leader has been out-of-town working and didn’t know the composition of his line-up until team training last night.

The only certainty for Harth was the loss of his specialist wicketkeeeper and one of his senior batsmen.

“Mark O’Keeffe is out with a leg injury that may need surgery and we’ll be missing Ray Doherty,” he said.

While the loss of key players is always disappointing, Harth looks upon the situation as an opportunity for young players to make their way into the squad.

One young player to be given his opportunity to cement his place in the side is all-rounder Rhyce Philp, a talent the club is seeking to develop.

The main concern for all the A-grade captains will be whether all their players are switched on after a long break.

Not all the team played Twenty20, representative fixtures or were a part of the Country Carnival and so there could be players a little rusty.

With eight points on the line Gracemere’s clash against Brothers today should be a beauty.

Currently Brothers hold the second place on the points ladder but Gracemere is just a single point behind. Both teams are placed in a handy position to pounce should the Frenchville Falcons topple off their perch.

Norths need to win every game and see other results go their way to gain a shot at the finals while the team ending the program on the top of the ladder has the advantage of a rest before playing the grand final.

Frenchville captain Todd Wells is not prepared to make too many assumptions about finishing positions and certainly won’t discount Norths just yet.

“They were playing some good cricket at the end of last year and are the only team to beat us,” he said.

However, it will take a big effort to dislodge the champion side even though two of its star players will miss this weekend’s games.

Wells said he will be without his in-form batsman Brent Rothery and one of his strike bowlers Karl Batey but like his Gracemere counterpart sees the loss as an opportunity for young players to stake their claim.

State of play

Southern Star Shield one-day games.

All games at Rockhampton Cricket Ground

Saturday: Frenchville v Brothers, Gracemere v Norths

Sunday: Frenchville v Norths, Gracemere v Brothers.

Current points:- 68 Frenchville, 59 Brothers, 58 Gracemere, 34 Norths.

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