Hornets 'closer' despite semi final loss
A LOSING trend continued for the Ipswich/Logan Hornets at the weekend, but coach Wayne Bichel had nothing but admiration for the grit and determination his side showed in their Katherine Raymont Shield T20 finals defeat.
The Hornets were ultimately outclassed by a more experienced Gold Coast outfit at Bill Pippen Oval on Sunday, but the visiting side was anything but disgraced despite missing a host of start players.
It was the third such time the Hornets came close without success against their South Coast opposition. But Bichel has seen enough in progression to know the gap is closing with each successive meeting.
"We're getting close to the mark," he said.
"To have made the semi, we're over the moon about that. Even with the others away we still had to beat Sandgate at Sandgate (to progress). We've beaten Wests when they had some top players in, and beat Uni. There's lots of positives to take away."
Again it was brief spells in both the batting and bowling innings which ultimately cost the Hornets on Sunday.
A slow start with the bat and brief concentration lapses with the ball proved the difference in what otherwise was a hotly contested final.
"We probably dug ourselves a hole to start with," Bichel said.
"The Coast bowled well in the power play. After seven overs I think we were only 2/18.
"I thought 132 was a pretty good score, we were maybe 10-15 short, but based on the start I thought we had done well.
"(With Gold Coast) at 1/55 after nine we were still in the contest. But we had a couple of bad overs and things got away from us."
After losing Brenda Tau and Shekinah Friske early, the Hornets responded through experienced duo Sterre Kalis (82) and Vicky Ara'a (34).
The international pair met at the crease at 2/8, but put together a masterful partnership to get the Hornets out to 2/132 after 20 overs.
"Sterre and Vicky batted really well. They had to take risks to get the innings going, but they played a really mature innings," Bichel said.
"Sterre showed her class and Vicky played a great support role. I said to Vicky after the game it was probably the best I've seen her bat. When she had to take a risk, it was a calculated one."
But as has become the trend in T20 cricket even at the top level, the chasing team - knowing the run rate required to win - had the advantage.
Gold Coast reached the total inside 15 overs.
"Georgia Redmayne coming back from the WBBL and (Amy) Riddell the Queensland Country captain . . . they were a left-hand, right-hand combination which is what we struggle to bowl to," Bichel said.
With five one-day fixtures remaining, Bichel is excited at the prospect of welcoming the team's representative players back from the Under-18 National Championships, and finishing the season on a high.
"With the others coming back, we'll look to finish out the last five games and really put a good imprint on our season," he said.
"Those girls will come back from the 18s with a lot of confidence. In the meantime we've had a good chance to give some of our twos some exposure - they'll go back (to Second Grade) and take that with them.
"I'm excited to see both grades finish off the season strongly."
The First Grade Hornets have a rare weekend off before returning to one-day action on February 3 at home to Valleys.
The Jodie Fields Shield side host Sunshine Coast this Sunday at 11am at Baxter Oval.