CQ Centurions win on very last Ball
THE Central Queensland Centurions can feel a little unlucky about their 2015 North Queensland Cricket Championship campaign.
That is because they defeated the winners of the championships, Far North Queensland (FNQ) from Townsville on Saturday.
They then did not have the chance to amass more championship points because their game against Mackay/Whitsunday on Sunday was called off as Harrup Park in Mackay was waterlogged from a downpour the night before.
The cancelled game also denied several CQ players another opportunity to push for selection in the North Queensland team, chosen from the championships.
Only Jason Seng and Trent Sorohan made the representative team.
But the Centurions' loss to Cairns Tropical North (CTN) in round 1 in Townsville did not help their cause.
At the same time, FNQ won their two-day 100 over innings round 1 game against Mackay/Whitsunday outright, which gave them maximum points and laid the foundation for their championship title.
As it was, the Centurions finished third.
Despite this, they proved their ability with a thrilling last ball victory over the champions, FNQ.
Centurions captain Jason Seng won the toss and elected to bat, as there was a fair bit of moisture in the wicket and as the day progressed it would dry and flatten out, making batting for the run chase easier.
After 50 overs FNQ were 9-178, after making a rapid start.
"After just four overs they had piled on more than 40 runs," Centurions coach Troy Paradies said.
"We were being smashed for more than 10 runs an over. But we regrouped, we tightened up, bowled to our game plan and took all our opportunities."
Where poor fielding and dropped catches had let the CQ team down in Townsville against CTN, the Centurions fielded strongly in this game, grassing only one catch and forcing a crucial run out.
"After that first four overs our intensity in the field really lifted," Paradies said.
"We only dropped one catch and we took that wicket the next over, so no damage was done. And we pushed hard, forcing four genuine run-out opportunities and we got one of those. That run out broke up a partnership which was forming, so it was timely."
The pick of the CQ bowlers was Sam Lowry who got 3 for 20 off eight overs and Justin Peacock who snared two wickets for 25 off 10. Jason Seng also took two wickets.
Tight bowling and excellent fielding by CQ restricted FNQ to just 178, when it looked like they could make a big score over 250 in the early overs.
In reply, Terry Sawyer held the CQ innings together with a well-played 46 not out. Dave Heymer also batted strongly, making another 46.
At nine wickets down for 177, the Centurions needed two runs off the last ball to win.
And strike bowler and tail end batsman Chad Gilmore sent it flying to the fence for four.
"That was a really well deserved win," Paradies said.
"We really fought hard in that game, with both the bat and the ball. It was awesome."
While the coach said it was a marvellous team effort, he singled out Sawyer's innings as special.
"He held us together with the bat," Paradies said.
"While wickets fell around him he kept batting well. And he was supported by Justin Peacock who chipped in with 20 odd runs. It was an excellent game."