Cricket bowls back
THE Frenchville Sports Club Twenty20 A-grade saw cricket return to the Rockhampton Cricket Ground but it was the bowlers who enjoyed being back at the game's home fields.
After an absence of 12 months and an incredible amount of preparation, teams again got an opportunity to play on the RCG.
Gracemere captain Aaron Harmsworth was one of the team captains who admitted he was not too sure what the newly-laid wickets would offer.
"As we were playing on a newly-prepared pitch we bowled first as we didn't know what to expect," he said.
The opening match for Gracemere was against Brothers and Harmsworth could only be happy with his decision as Brothers were unable to get to grips on a strip that occasionally had low bounce and carry.
"We bowled Brothers out for 86 runs," he said. "It was not batting friendly."
Having a look at how the ball was coming off the surface of the pitch gave Gracemere the information needed to master conditions and the total of 86 proved not to be a challenge with Harmsworth's team getting there for the loss of just one wicket.
"It was pretty much down to our openers," he said.
Shane Scott and Mark O'Keeffe took Gracemere within a few runs of victory before Scott's wicket fell and from there the win was a formality.
Harmsworth was very impressed with the form of Scott who moved to the area during the past year but has not made himself available for A-grade cricket until the Twenety20 competition.
"He scored 40 and 45 on Saturday, hopefully we can get him to play in the other format of the game," he said.
Having seen his bowlers put the ball in the right areas to dismiss Brothers, Harmsworth said they repeated the performance in the second match of the day when facing Frenchville.
This time it was Gracemere batting first and scoring 117 runs, a total Harmsworth felt was always going to be competitive.
"I was confident that 117 runs was worth 150 runs on a normal day," he said.
"The outfield was very slow, with soft grass."
Teenage spin bowler Curtis Duff proved to be a destroyer for Gracemere taking three wickets for five runs from his four overs.
Harmsworth said the left-arm orthodox spin ace is another he would like to see play in the club's A-grade team.
"It is good to see young talent coming through," he said.
Speedster Ben Milne also took a liking to conditions and built up a good head of steam.
"He was at his quickest against Frenchville," Harmsworth said.
"He's got the speed when he wants it."
A win and a loss for Frenchville and yet captain Todd Wells was reasonably happy with his team's display in the Twenty20 competition.
Frenchville began the day well with a solid victory over Norths.
Over the past couple of seasons Frenchville has sometimes struggled to get over the top of Norths, but not on Saturday.
Setting a chase of 150 runs Norths never really got too close and eventually failed by 36 runs.
However, Wells admitted it was a different story against Gracemere with Frenchville losing seven wickets early in the chase.
"They batted and fielded really well," Wells said.
The experienced captain had no excuses saying the wickets will be fine in a couple of weeks once they have settled down.
"A score of 140 is competitive on number three pitch while 120 runs is good on the main pitch," Wells said.
Like Gracemere, Frenchville used the competition to give young players a chance to taste first grade duties and another similarity to their rival came with the performance of Kobie O'Brien who, like Gracemere's Curtis Duff, is a teenager who bowls left arm orthodox spin.
Also bowling well for Frenchville was Chaice Bidgood who used line and length to claim four wickets rather than capture his scalps with swing bowling.
"Chaice bowled in good areas and built up pressure on the batsmen," Wells said.
Best of the Frenchville batsmen was Jason Wells who scored 40 against Brothers and double figures against Gracemere.
Reports from the second grade and corporate grade of the Frenchville Sports Club Twenty20 competition will appear in tomorrow and Wednesday's edition of the Morning Bulletin.
Results from the Frenchville Sports Club A-grade games played on Saturday at Rockhampton Cricket Ground
Brothers v Gracemere
Brothers all out 86 (Scott Smithwick 22, Jason Batchelor 20: Colin Moffat 3-28, Curtis Duff 2-8)
Gracemere 1-89 (Shane Scott 40, Mark O'Keeffe 33 no: Murray Harch 0-14, Scott Mansfield 0-14)
A win to Gracemere by 9 wickets
Gracemere v Frenchville
Gracemere all out 117 (Shane Scott 45, Mark O'Keeffe 16: Chaice Bidgood 4-18, Kobie O'Brien 3-20)
Frenchville all out 75 (Todd Wells 21, Jason Wells 16: Curtis Duff 3-5, Colin Moffat 3-6)
A win to Gracemere by 42 runs
Frenchville v Norths
Frenchville 8-150 (Jason Wells 40, Todd Wells 30: Ben Walters 3-23, Justin Peacock 2-31)
Brothers all out 114 (Steve Piskor 27, Chris Bath 22: Chaice Bidgood 4-16, Wade Hawkins 3-32)
A win to Frenchville by 36 runs