Centrals skipper itching for tough battle against Laidley
HAVING recently tested himself against higher level bowling, Centrals captain Lachlan Vellacott has his fingers crossed for another absorbing contest on Saturday.
The skipper and his consistent performing team are anxious to face Laidley in the Harding-Madsen Shield Ipswich final at Walker Oval.
The Centrals Kookaburras have been denied some big match shots at the Blue Dogs.
After last year's four-day Ipswich competition grand final was cut short by COVID, Centrals also had to settle for being runners-up after last weekend's Baxter Big Bash T20 decider was washed out.
With rainy weather still around, Vellacott was hoping for dry conditions on Saturday to allow another challenging but exciting contest before the Christmas break.
"We're itching to get at them on Saturday,'' Vellacott said.
"It's three games in the making I suppose.
"There's a lot of youth on both sides this year, mixed in with a few experienced guys.
"We always like playing against them. They are always really tough.''
That will especially be the case after Laidley's shock batting collapse, scoring only 60 in last weekend's rare big defeat to Toowoomba rivals Wests.
"I'm sure they will want to bounce back really strongly and Laidley always get up for finals,'' Vellacott said.
"Wanting to play for the win and winning premierships is what they have done very well over many recent years.''
However, that's the challenge classy batsman Vellacott embraces.
He recently represented South Queensland in a three-day series against North Queensland in Cairns.
Although South Queensland lost all three games, Vellacott compiled a handy 50 in the final one-day game.
"It was nice to test myself at that level against better opposition,'' he said.
"You are facing better bowlers. They are just a lot better in general.
"The fielding is better so it's just really good to test yourself against the guys at that level and those guys who have played Queensland Country.
"Moving forward, it gives me a good platform to see where I'm at and see where I need to improve to possibly go to the next level.''
Centrals are also coming off a polished victory over Northern Brothers Diggers last weekend. Centrals' win secured them third place in this year's annual Harding-Madsen Shield competition.
"It was probably one of the better wins we've had in the last couple of years since I've been at the club,'' Vellacott said.
Centrals will be without middle order batsman Sam Strong for Saturday's match.
However, Vellacott has been impressed with his team's young performers like Harry Dobson and Braydon Osborne.
"We've got a young side but all the boys are just really putting in the effort,'' Vellacott said.
"We've got guys in the side that didn't think they would be playing First Grade this year and have made the step up and really done well for us.
"Harry has stood up this year and scored a few handy runs in the middle overs.
"Braydon has made a step up from Second Grade as wicketkeeping for us this year. He's gone really well with the gloves and chipped in with the bat a few times.
"He's been a mainstay in our side at the moment.''
Centrals tireless opening batsman Wayne Jones has also provided a stabilising influence in recent innings.
"He's top of the order looking to bat for as long as he can,'' Vellacott said.
"He's not worried about his individual runs. He anchors the innings.
"And then he has been fantastic with the ball for us this year.
"We sort of came into the year without a spinner and he put his hand up knowing we need his 10 overs every week and he's taken valuable wickets.
"He's been really handy with bat and ball, across all fronts.''
Qld Premier Grades
Saturday: Ipswich Hornets v Valleys
1st Grade at Ashgrove: Hornets 5 (dec) 357 - Dan Wilson 140 v Valleys 0/8.
2nd Grade at Baxter Oval: Hornets 220 v Valleys 1/50.
Saturday: Harding Madsen Shield one-day final: 1-Laidley District v 2-Central Districts at Walker Oval.
3rd Division (T20s): Laidley v Redbacks at Marsden No.3
Thunder Storm v Strollers White at Marsden No.3.
Strollers Blue v Thunder at Marsden No.4.