Hornets embracing uncharted territory
NEVER before has an Ipswich/Logan Hornets side padded up for a knockout match in Queensland Premier Cricket's top tier.
That all changes tomorrow, when the Anthony Wilson-led Hornets travel to take on Northern Suburbs in a one-day qualifying final at Ian Healy Oval.
It was a short but difficult path to finals action for the Hornets, who started the season hot with back-to-back wins before narrowly falling to Wests last weekend.
However, their 2-1 record was still good enough for a finals berth - and while Dan Wilson was understandably excited, he confirmed history had already been made weeks earlier.
"This season was the first one-day game which the Hornets have ever won in First Grade,” the opener said.
A shocking statistic on face value considering the Hornets' relatively consistent showings in the two-day format, Wilson said the difference this season was an increased emphasis on the 50-over game.
"We've been building towards it over the last couple of years,” he said.
"When the club started, the emphasis initially was getting up to a competitive standard in two-day cricket. The one-day side of things just wasn't a priority.
"But as the club has grown and become a competitive force in two-day cricket, that's allowed us to put more of an emphasis on the one-day stuff.
"We did, and now we've made a push for finals cricket.”
Aside from a more committed approach to beginning the season on a winning note, Wilson said the big improvement so far had come from the bowling group.
"Bowlers win you games. It doesn't matter how many runs you get if you can't stop the other team scoring,” he said.
"If the bowlers don't do the job, you'll struggle.
"We've gotten (to a final) without Jack Wood who, if you go back and look at the stats from last season was a hugely underrated figure in our limited overs cricket.
"To be without Jack, and see the emergence of Rowan Lutter, and the improvement from Sean Lutter and Adam Smith, that's a big reason we're in the position we are.”
Keeping the core group of players together through seasons has been another benefit in Wilson's eyes.
"High player turnover means you're starting from scratch each season,” he said. "With the same guys, you know what you're good at, what you aren't, and you can plan better.”
One identifiable area of improvement was in the field. Funnily enough, it has been two recent inclusions which have led the way through three weeks.
"Bryn (Llewellyn) and Lachlan (Prince) coming into the side, you can't overstate how big a difference they have made,” Wilson said. "Both of those guys last week at stages kept us in the game with their fielding and energy.”
Queensland Premier Cricket First Grade one-day qualifying final: Tomorrow (9.30am) - Ipswich/Logan Hornets v Northern Suburbs at Ian Healy Oval