Perfect start to premiership season

FRENCHVILLE and Brothers have made perfect starts to their Rockhampton Cricket Association 2005-06 Southern Star Sports Shield premiership campaigns ? at least for now.

The title contenders powered to thrilling opening round outright wins at the Rockhampton Cricket Grounds on Saturday.

Resuming at 5/52 in their clash with Bluebirds (117), Frenchville captain Todd Wells (53) and tailender Aaron Cowan (1no) were the first innings saviours.

The pair combined for a matchwinning 16-run last wicket partnership to steer Frenchville to 121, a lead of just four runs.

With first-innings points in the bag, Frenchville's pace attack went for the kill. Alan Ryder (3/ 32) and super sub Karl Batey (5/ 18) destroyed a 10-man Bluebirds line-up for 68.

Chasing 65 runs in 15 overs for an unlikely outright win, Wells (30no) and Ryder (32no) then blasted Frenchville to 0/67 in 8 overs.

"It was a very pleasing result, especially when we were struggling to get first innings,'' Wells said.

On the wicket nextdoor, Brothers paceman Scott Mansfield was leading the premiers to an outright victory against a gallant Gracemere outfit.

Mansfield collected 12 wickets for the match after snaring another six-wicket haul in Gracemere's second innings total of 208.

Brothers all-rounder Jason Batchelor (9no) needed just four balls to secure maximum points for his side. Frenchville and Brothers now meet in a top-of-the-table round two showdown when the Southern Star Sports Shield resumes on October 22.

The opening round of the North Queensland Championships will be played at the Rockhampton Cricket Grounds this weekend.



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