Swans hold the keys to Gympie's cricket season
CRICKET: The cost of six Maroochydore wickets will most likely decide the fate of current Division 1 premiers Gympie at the close of Round 12 of Division 1 fixtures.
The Gold's defence of 150 against the Swans has the visitors 4/60 at the restart on a rainless 36 degree day at Albert Park. Currently third on the table, a losing Gympie would slip to fifth if Glasshouse can raise the 40 runs needed to pass Nambour.
From there, the last round bye means just one more chance for points, against Glasshouse, who also have a hard road home facing Gympie and Caboolture. But losses still bring bonus points, whereas the bye provides no comfort.
The Gold has at least an even chance, with the Maroochydore line-up shaky, especially as competition run leader Adam Thornton is back in the grandstand. James Chaplin and nightwatchman Sam Nelson are at the crease, with Chaplin looking for the performance that yielded nearly 400 runs last season to guide his team to at least three figures.
Gerard Flegler is coming off a practice 89 against Nambour, and has the grit to see his side through, especially with fellow Scorcher teammate Chris Welsh, yet the tail lacks the tenacity of Tom Olsen and Kev Schultz.
Josh Brady leads a Gold attack needing quick wickets for comfort, and has the assistance of Anthony Reid or Brycen Mitchell if he opts for pace. Troy Ashton brings 410 wickets of guile to the table, and a pair of Sippels plus young leggie Leo Cartwright, snarer of Thornton, add to an abundance of choice. If the Swans are still in, there will be a nervous lunch at Albert Park.
Glasshouse can bolster its finals prospects by quickly reaching 150 from 2/110 at the Showgrounds and giving Nambour another bat immediately. With two strong opponents to finish the fixtures, an outright win increases security, and the Rangers would back themselves in a run chase on the Nambour track.
Steve Ledger may provide a problem if he gets going in the second dig, especially if backup is provided in a spirited Cutters' resistance.
Caboolture already leads Caloundra by 112 at 2/242, and Matt Anderson may allow Glen Batticciotto to join Matt Schubert in three figures. The Snakes have the attack to dismiss the Lighthouses in two sessions, and the lead will mean only a small chase, even if the home side digs in. Caloundra needs a huge effort to avoid the outright defeat.