Strong showing from CQ Seamers at Country Challenge
CRICKET: The CQ Seamers have fallen just one win short of a grand final appearance at the Gabba.
The Jason Wells-coached representative side was beaten by the Mackay Whitsunday Nitros in the semi-final of the Bulls Masters T20 Country Challenge in Mackay.
The Nitros will face defending champions Far North Fusion in the final to be played as a curtain-raiser to a Big Bash match at the Gabba on a date to be decided.
Wells said while it was disappointing to miss the final it was a fantastic performance from the players who rallied after an early loss to win two more games and secure their semis berth.
The Seamers went down to Far North Fusion on Friday night but went on to score a comfortable win over the South-East Queensland Lightning and a thrilling last-ball victory over the Wide Bay Flames on Saturday.
"That was awesome to bounce back from the disappointment of Friday night's loss to play two extremely good games on the Saturday,” Wells said.
In the semi, the Seamers bowled first and restricted the Nitros to 5-139 from their 20 overs.
They went into the run chase feeling confident they could replicate Saturday's form but the batting never really got going.
The Seamers lost quick wickets and were eventually bowled out for 76 in 16 overs.
Wells, who was coaching the side for the first time, was proud and happy with the way the boys played.
"Realistically, we were one good partnership away from playing at the Gabba.
"The players will take a lot away from this weekend and will have learnt a lot.”
Skipper Joe McGahan, David Heymer and Sam Lowry were the Seamers' best with the bat, while paceman Ben Milne did plenty of damage with the ball.
Wells made special mention of teenage spin sensation Logan Whitfield, who was also among the wickets and finished with figures of 3-6 against Wide Bay.
"He was probably the stand-out in what was his first tournament as a 16-year-old. He stood up to the challenge and bowled really well,” he said.
Wells is now gearing up to again coach the CQ Centurions in the North Queensland Championships, a 50-over competition.
The Centurions are the reigning champions and will open this year's campaign in two games against Townsville in Rockhampton in just over a fortnight.
Teams from Mackay and Cairns also compete.
"It's very important for the whole CQ region to defend the title. You want to be winning to set the right tone for the zone,” Wells said.
"Whatever success we can get at this level helps promote cricket in the area.
"We've got a good group of players in the area who are putting in lots of hard work to keep improving.”