The cream rises to the crop for Centurions
CRICKET: Written off at the start of the season due to big guns dropping out, the Central Queensland Centurions rallied and made a stand.
The squad put the band-aids on and came together with players from all across the region. But they weren't expected to do so well.
Coach Jason Wells came in and yesterday led his side to the North Queensland Cricket Championships.
Wells said the win was "unbelievable”.
"Some big names moved on at the start of the year but we managed to get a really balanced side together,” he said.
"Somehow, I believe we were able to put together an even better side than last season.
"It means everything to get this win after being written off.”
Centurions quicks Joey Pratt and Joe McGahan ripped through for their side taking 8-23 between them across two days in Mackay.
Months after returning from a summer series playing English County Cricket, Pratt tore Tropical North (Townsville) apart on Saturday, taking 4-12 from seven overs.
The 20-year-old paceman helped the Centurions to convincing 40 run win after setting 172 with the bat.
Pratt said it felt "awesome” to bowl so well and that his time in England made him a smarter bowler.
"To beat Townsville was awesome. I had my rhythm going and my pace up. The ball was moving around a fair bit in the late overs,” Pratt recalled.
"I got two caught behind, one mid-off and one down the ground. Means I was bowling a good length.
"I have played for CQ since I was 15 but this is the first full season of opens. It is a big step up... you have to bowl in the right areas or they will punish you.
"England was great. I learnt a lot. Their pitches are a lot flatter, not much bounce. I had to adjust my length a lot, a touch fuller than Aussie decks.”
Yesterday, McGahan's 4-11 was equally devastating as his younger team-mate, assisting the Centurions to dismiss Far North Queensland for just 123.
Coach Jason Wells was full of praise for his all-rounder.
"Joe came in this morning with one of those classic spells,” Wells said at lunch yesterday.
"He kept putting it on a dime with some unplayable deliveries. Seven overs of great heat.
"Our whole bowling attack gave me all I could ask from them. Now we are set up for the win.”
The Centurions set Tropical North 172 with Emerald Brothers duo Craig Cullen and Cameron Keene top scoring with 31 and 34 respectively.
The Centurions wrapped up the North Queensland Championship yesterday with their defeat of Cairns.
Though they were chasing a low score, CQ kept losing the wickets and lost seven before Keene and Brent Hartley secured the win.