ON PAPER, big first-round winners Brothers and Across The Waves have the “easier” assignments in the first Bundaberg/Fraser Coast League inter-city matches tomorrow.
They will take on first-up losers Mariners and Australs respectively at Salter Oval.
Country/Wests, who were beaten by Brothers, face a tough task in Maryborough against Fraser Coast premiers Past Grammars, who kicked off the expanded competition with a comprehensive six-wicket victory over Australs.
The other Bundaberg team Norths has the bye, while a local derby showdown between Hervey Bay Bushrangers and Cavaliers completes the round.
Brothers will welcome back opening batsman Josh Nugent, dynamic all-rounder Mitchell Sartori and 18-year-old Michael Lovett, who has stepped up into the role as pace spearhead, but they will sorely miss their long-time fast bowling gun Boyd Williams and all-rounder Warren Shipley who are unavailable.
Brothers’ batting has been especially brittle this season, and despite beating the Panthers by 89 runs last week, they were in serious trouble at 5-95 before opener Ashley Williams and No.7 Ashley Helmore emerged as unlikely heroes with 88 and an unbeaten 55, carrying them to a winning score of 8-238.
Boge said it is important that they get their batting together soon, and that it would help to settle on a regular side.
“Boyd (Williams) will be a big loss, and Wazza (Shipley) has also been bowling pretty well, but it will be good to have Mitch back, and (spinner) Eddie (Butcher) should nearly be playing for Bundaberg – he’s one of the most under-rated bowlers in Bundy and he takes wickets every game,” Boge said.
“We’ve lost a couple of good players but we’ve still got a bit of batting depth and got fellas who’ve been around for a few years – we won’t be so dominant as in recent years but we still are a force to be reckoned with.
“We’re looking forward to Mariners – it will be a bit of a novelty against teams you don’t really know any players, but we’re looking forward to the challenge and hopefully adapting and having another good win.”
Waves will field a near full-strength side with the return of captain David Jones, batting lynchpin Brendan Prossliner and Callum Stitt, and they look to have far too many guns for Australs, with only rising star keeper/batsman Curtis Janke missing.
They boast great strength and depth in all departments.
Country will be bolstered by the return of at least batting young gun Daniel Faulkner who missed last week due to School State Titles commitments.
Also, despite managing just six runs between them last week, Travis Henke and Scott Irwin are an extremely formidable opening pair and they rarely fail.