Bundy cricket reps back from dead
BUNDABERG'S representative cricket team rose from the ashes on Sunday, trouncing rivals Fraser Coast by 121 runs to sneak into the grand final against Gympie early next year.
Selectors were forced to make six changes to the side that lost to South Burnett, and it was the injection of youth that got Bundaberg home.
A Zac Keune century and four wickets to all-rounder Steve Nichols guided the new-look team to victory.
On a crumbling wicket Keune shared in a 102-run partnership with first-time captain Jarrod Laycock.
“It was tough going, but a great feeling to get that hundred and help the side grab a win,” Keune said.
“Jarrod and I had a great partnership and we knew 280-odd would be hard to chase on a pitch that was getting harder and harder to bat on.”
It was Waves batsmen’s first century for the open side, filling him with confidence leading into the NewsMail Cup final this weekend.
“Let’s hope I can get a few more and cause an upset against Brothers,” he said.
Nichols has forged a reputation with the bat this season, but his exceptional spell reminded everyone of his versatility.
Fraser Coast were cruising at 1-79, but the arrival of Nichols orchestrated an eight-over batting collapse with Bundaberg taking 6-3 to leave the hosts reeling at 7-82.
“It’s definitely been a year to remember. I was thrilled to get my four wickets,” he said.
The medium-pacer was cruelly denied a fifth when bowler Rhys Grills spilt a tough chance and a close lbw shout was turned down.
“It would have been great but I’ve got to be happy with that,” he said.
Bowling in tandem with Chris Duff, Nichols fed off the pressure the young off-spinner was able to build at his end.
“Duffy bowled really well again and has done all season,” Keune said.
He knocked over South Queensland Country representative Shane Muller and Wide Bay captain Steve Collins, plus top scorer Matt Rook.
Keune and Nichols praised their makeshift team and gave themselves every chance of knocking off the undefeated Gympie side.
“Gympie are a fantastic team this year. But we have the players with the ability to beat them, we just need everyone fit and available,” Nichols said.