Bichel's 'icing on the cake' moment
WHEN Wayne Bichel reflects on what ultimately has been a watershed year for the Ipswich/Logan Hornets' women's program, he will do so in three stages.
"I think you break it into three bits. In the first part (of the season) we were still learning,” Bichel said.
"For the girls going away with the 18s (representative teams), everything was a build-up to that time - finding their feet against some really good players.
"Then the time the girls were away, during the T20s, was a good time to develop some of the 'lesser-lights' and let them have a go.
"Now we're into the back half of the season, with those girls back (in the team) and . . . it's been the icing on the cake.”
The icing on the Hornets' cake to which the coach refers has been the string of consecutive wins to close out their maiden season in the Katherine Raymont Shield.
Last weekend's blockbuster win over competition leaders Western Suburbs was the cherry on top.
Or it might have been, if not for the test which awaits Bichel's side tomorrow.
Taking advantage of Wests' slip-up, Sandgate-Redcliffe moved into the top spot courtesy of monster victory over Valleys.
Fresh from their 308-run innings, the new competition leaders host the Hornets at Trevor Hohns Oval.
"For us, having Wests at home was probably an advantage,” Bichel said.
"This week, it's a good team away. A few of their players have been hitting form, it's going to be another good test.”
Queensland Fire and Brisbane Heat trio Jemma Barsby and Georgia Prestwidge have produced quality showings for their club side since returning from WBBL duty.
One-time Heat batsman Tess Cooper has been equally impressive, blasting 79 off 75 last weekend.
Bichel welcomed the challenge which waits his improving bowling attack.
"We'll work on some strategies for those players. The girls have understood and embraced that (challenge),” he said.
With Gold Coast's win over University last weekend confirming the Hornets are out of finals calculations, Bichel said the focus would be finishing the season on a high and sending their international players out on a winning note.
"It will be a good way to see off Brenda (Tau), Vicky (Ara'a) and Sterre (Kalis). Their contribution this season has been immeasurable,” the coach said.
"Sterre has shown leadership with the bat. She's batted with different partners to win games. Against Uni, we had a short total (to chase) and Sterre took the attack up to them and close the game out quickly.
"When Brenda first got here she was very quiet, but she's come out of her shell. The key thing has been having a left-hander at the top of the order. A number of games she's been the rock in our innings.
"Vicky's contribution . . . she's been brilliant in the field, and of course the game against Uni when she took 4/10.”
Katherine Raymont Shield
Tomorrow (10am) - Ipswich/Logan Hornets v Sandgate-Redcliffe at Trevor Hohns Oval