Debutants play key roles in CQ Centurions success
CRICKET: Joe McGahan top-scored in both games as the CQ Centurions made a winning start to the North Queensland Championships on the weekend.
The Centurions cruised to a comfortable win over Mackay-Whitsunday in the 50-over game on Saturday and then took out a close game in the teams’ T20 clash on Sunday.
Debutant George Stacey starred with the ball on Saturday, taking 5-28 off 10 overs as the Centurions restricted their rivals to 174 at the Rockhampton Cricket Grounds.
McGahan scored 61, combining with skipper Sam Lowry in a 114-run partnership that laid the platform for the win.
The visitors batted first on Sunday, finishing on 6-129 from their 20 overs. In reply, the Centurions reeled in their total with five balls to spare.
Another debutant, teenager Jack Harris, scored the winning runs with a cracking cover drive that found the boundary on the first ball of the last over.
Centurions coach Jason Wells was pleased with the team’s start to the championships.
“It was good to get two wins from both those games,” he said. “We played particularly well on Saturday and then backed it up on Sunday.”
Wells said Stacey helped turn the game on Saturday.
The right-arm quick took four wickets in a devastating second spell when Mackay-Whitsunday was starting to get some momentum.
Wells said the key to Sunday’s win was really tight bowling.
“We didn’t give them any opportunities to get away from us,” he said.
“We kept them under wraps for the majority of the innings.
“To keep them to 129 was a really good effort.”
The Centurions will head to Townsville to play North Queensland and Far North in the last two rounds of the championships on November 2 and 3.
Wells said two wins there would guarantee them the title.
“Both of those teams are very similar to us – they’ve got some guys who have played at this level for six to 10 years and then some young guys as well,” he said.
“Both teams have players who have done well against us in the past, so we know we’re going to have to be on our game, but if we play according to our game plan we believe that we can take care of anything they throw at us.
“We trust in our processes and we’ll be giving ourselves the best opportunity we can to do well.”
Wells said he would finalise the team for the road trip in the next couple of days.
Brent Hartley is under an injury cloud, with fears he may have torn his hamstring, but Central Highlands duo Cameron Keene and Joey Pratt are back in the mix after being unavailable last weekend.