Gracemere in bid to avoid outright loss

By AARON KELLY

DEFENDING champions Brothers have not had to wait long to confirm their firming Rockhampton Cricket Association 2005-06 Southern Star Sports Shield premiership credentials.

Chasing their seventh straight title, Brothers are already shooting for an opening round outright victory against Gracemere at the Rockhampton Cricket Grounds this Saturday.

Brothers started where they finished last season with a powerhouse display to roll Gracemere for just 54 runs in their first innings on Saturday.

Fast bowler Scott Mansfield, the competition's leading wickettaker last season, demolished Gracemere's top-order to finish with 6/19 (15 overs).

Off-spinner Andrew Harris, 2/1 (1.5 overs), also chimed in. Gracemere captain Mick Harth (10) was his team's only batsman to reach double figures in the whitewash.

"We shot ourselves in the foot,'' Harth said.

"They (Brothers) just bowl in very good areas and then their batsmen come out blazing.''

Blazing they did.

At stumps, Brothers had secured first innings spoils and at 4/157 will chase an outright win this weekend.

All-rounder Jason Batchelor (52 no) and captain Lachlan Spyve (1 no) will resume the assault after Bileola's Brad Stehbens made his mark in only his second match for Gracemere.

The Callide Dawson representative bowler took 3/53 (12 overs) and claimed the key wickets of Anthony Spyve (40), Murray Harch (37) and Terry Tummon (20).

Play continues on Saturday.



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