Bris North returns
BRISBANE North will be favoured to join Darwin as the equal-most successful team in the 20-year history of the Bundaberg Under-15 Development Carnival when the tournament gets under way at Salter Oval today.
The metropolitan heavyweight claimed the Denis Schaefer Trophy in a tournament which was marred by rain last year, taking its number of titles won at the event to four, joining the former Brisbane South Zone, one behind the Northern Territorians.
Neither Darwin nor Sunshine Coast, which are third on the carnival honours list with three titles each, will compete this year.
The other three carnival champions have been Darling Downs and South West Queensland (DDSWQ), which have always strongly supported the event, back in 1996, the former Moreton and South West Districts Zone 12 years ago, and a Bundaberg Brothers side in 2002.
DDSWQ has another shot at glory but it has usually struggled at this carnival against the likes of Brisbane North, Metropolitan South West (MSW) and Gold Coast, which boast bigger player bases to draw from.
The floods reduced last year's carnival to four teams but while MSW has not nominated, Gold Coast makes a return, and it could be the "dark horse".
Two local teams will complement a field of six which will battle it out over five days, and Bundaberg Cricket Junior co-ordinator Noel Stitt, expects both to acquit themselves well, but especially the No. 1 side, which is coached by Brett McLellan.
"Brisbane North and SEQ are the ones to beat but our teams will be very competitive," Stitt said.
"In the top side, Lachie Trace got a late call up into the Wide Bay side for the state under-15 championships a few weeks ago, and there's a few who have played for Wide Bay in the past, such as Baidon Cooper and Cody Maughan, who has also done quite well in Division 3 and 4.
"It has also given a lot of kids a go who haven't played for Wide Bay, including Zac McLellan, who has been on the verge with good runs.
"Jared Paul has been in very good all-round form for YMCA which is on top of the under-16 table, and Trent Seeds has been getting good runs and wickets this year in Division 4 and in the times he has played for Bundy."
Queensland Country Cricket Life Member Denis Schaefer, whose name is attached to the silverware, will line up for his 19th straight Bundaberg development carnival as coach of SEQ.
He is hoping to add to his sole series trophy success with Moreton and South West but Brisbane North has always been a thorn in his teams' sides.