Darling Downs bowler Brendan Buckley bowls against Brisbane North at Salter Oval.
Darling Downs bowler Brendan Buckley bowls against Brisbane North at Salter Oval. Mike Knott

Cooper, Buckley, Paul smash tons

BUNDABERG Maroon duo Baidon Cooper and Jared Paul and Darling Downs and South West Queensland (DDSWQ)'s Brendan Buckley each struck their maiden centuries on day one of the Bundaberg Under-15 Development Carnival yesterday.

Bundaberg Maroon's Kyle Denning also had a day to remember, being the most successful bowler, picking up his first representative five-wicket haul.

Cooper finished unbeaten on 160 from just 134 balls after combining in a second wicket partnership of 181 with opener Paul, who was dismissed for 105, with the pair dominating in a huge total of 3-347 from their 55 overs against Bundaberg White.

Earlier, Denning claimed the first five wickets to fall in his 5-11 from four overs as the younger White side could manage only 168 with only opener Clayton Donovan (47) and brothers Matt and Joe Williams, with an unbeaten 36 and 26 respectively, getting runs.

Cooper, 14, who struck four sixes and 17 fours, said his previous highest score had been 63 "about two years ago", around the time he last represented Wide Bay, and that he had only previously hit "probably two sixes".

He said it was just his second game this season after missing the first three months due to a foot injury he sustained playing rugby league.

"But I just was seeing the ball pretty good today, but it will definitely be a lot harder for the rest of the week, although I think we should be pretty competitive against other teams," Cooper said.

Relishing the opportunity to play at this level for the first time, Paul, who will turn 15 on Friday, continued his good form and surpassed his previous best of 77 against Brothers a month ago.

"I went out and started well and gave a chance early on but timed the ball really well after that, and I reckon we can probably win the carnival if we keep playing well enough as a team," Paul said.

Brisbane North posted a competitive 10-211 against DDSWQ with No. 5 Samson Lowney falling eight runs short of a deserved century, and Ben Itzstein and James Breen the pick of the bowlers for the Downs with three wickets each.

DDSWQ stumbled to 2-54 but opener Buckley and second drop James Lush carried them to the brink of victory with a partnership of 155 before the latter was dismissed for 83 from only 78 balls.

Buckley went on to carry his bat, finishing unconquered on 106 from 193 balls, with a swashbuckling late unbeaten knock of 45 by Aidan Watterson inflating the total to an imposing 3-288.

Buckley was "sore" but delighted after far exceeding his previous highest score for his Dalby club of 47, and his century was extra-special because his parents Paul, who is team manager, and Helen and his two sisters were all there to watch.

"I made the DD schoolboys team in U-13 but this is the first time I've made it for zone, and I liked the way the kid in the other team (Lowney) batted and I tried to do what he did and I got through," Buckley said.

Coach Doug Lush praised his players, especially Buckley.

"They really put on a good performance today bowling and batting - any time you beat Brisbane North, it sets it up well for the rest of the week," Lush said.

Meanwhile, Gold Coast staged a superb run chase to overhaul South East Queensland (SEQ)'s handy total of 9-194, before going on to end at 8-247.

The game was in the balance when Gold Coast lost their sixth wicket on 146 but No. 7 Callum Brown carried them home with big hitting in his 45 from 47 balls.

Earlier, SEQ opener Ethan Spratt laid the platform with a plucky 55 but too many of his teammates made starts without going on with the job, while opener Harrison Wilton was the clearly best of their bowlers with 2-30.



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