Look out Laidley: Thunder set to strike aggressively
BEING a team to watch, Marburg/Mt Crosby Thunder are making tremendous progress in their first season back in first grade.
Having experienced captain Aaron Nugter leading the way has been just what the fearless, enthusiastic young side needs.
Aged 30, Nugter provides a level head guiding a team of rapidly developing youngsters eager to unleash on their opposition.
Just as importantly, Nugter is a Marburg junior who furthered his first grade career playing with mates at Northsiders before rejoining his favourite club.
"I was always coming back to Marburg when we got a first-grade side,'' the accomplished right-handed batsman said, having played since he was eight.
"I've been back now for four or five years and it's a club I want to play the rest of my career at.''
Nugter was encouraged by his team's first division return, especially from the Marburg juniors rising up the ranks and some valuable additions like Anderson brothers Todd and Jacob, from Northsiders.
"We're a young team. Apart from myself at 30, the rest of the boys are either early twenties or even teenagers,'' Nugter said.
"We have had some exceptional efforts, more so with the ball than anything.
"The most important part this year is we've tried to build a culture and that will breed success on the field as well.
"It's a pretty tight-knit bunch at the moment.''
Preparing to face the powerful Laidley combination in Saturday's Harding-Madsen Shield match, Thunder are only one point behind Centrals.
Nugter believes his side can leapfrog the Kookaburras into second spot, to earn an Ipswich final against Laidley.
"We had a hiccup against Centrals two weeks ago but credit to the boys, we nearly got the 10 wickets needed,'' Nugter said.
"We're really confident. We're a young team. Nothing sort of gets in the way of us at the moment.
"We're playing within ourselves, enjoying cricket and that's been the most important part so far.''
Nugter knows beating Laidley is a huge task, especially at Bichel Oval.
"I played my first, first grade game there 15 years ago and it was a hostile place then with all the players they had . . . and it's still a pretty hostile place now,'' he said.
"We see this game as the benchmark because Laidley have been the powerhouse in first grade, second grade, third grade for quite some time and it's a bit of a litmus test I suppose to see where we are at.
"It's a good challenge and we're all looking forward to it.''
Thunder heads to the Laidley fortress fresh from an impressive win over Toowoomba opponents Highfield Railwys last weekend.
After restricting Highfields to 8/187, Thunder reached the target with five wickets in hand and 65 balls to spare.
Thunder opener and wicketkeeper Jacob Anderson remained 103 not out, the team's first century this season.
"Out of the two brothers - Todd and Jacob - Todd is the one who gets in and knocks them around and Jacob plays his natural game, which is aggressive strokemaking,'' Nugter said.
"He made the most of it with the field being up the first 10 overs and then sort of went from there. It was basically a run a ball.
"The most encouraging part was he played his natural game throughout and he didn't throw his wicket away.''
The Thunder captain also praised his bowling attack featuring Lucas Sefont (3/43), Patrick Schmidt (1/35), Ray Coleman (1/49) and Darrin Mitchell (2/17).
Right-arm outswing bowler Schmidt has been opening the attack.
"He has unbelievable control, just line and length,'' Nugter said.
Sefont is a first change, right-arm legspinner.
Coleman and experienced left-arm offspinner Mitchell have been making valuable contributions.
Bowling spearhead Blayde Klass returns for the Laidley game after missing last weekend's encounter.
Batsman Nick Raine is an excellent fielder who bowls some medium pace.
After a shoulder reconstruction two year ago, Nugter has given up bowling and focuses on his batting - coming in from number four to six.
Nugter said his players were enjoying the challenge against Toowoomba opponents.
"It's great,'' he said.
"You play against all these Ipswich teams and know what everyone's got. You know the players they've got,'' he said.
"So playing against the Toowoomba sides, I've not known any players so it's been refreshing I reckon.
"Not having any expectations or leading into who you are playing against.
"It's a bit of an unknown but it's good.''
Nugter praised Thunder club president Troy Schroder for his leadership.
"He puts in a lot of time and effort preparing all the wickets,'' Nugter said.
"Behind the scenes, he works his backside off and the committee as well. Everyone is working really hard.''
Buoyed by recent successes, the Thunder captain is looking beyond the current Harding-Madsen one-day series.
"Given that we've started the season so well, there's a lot of boys now within the club that we can go on from here leading into Christmas,'' he said.
"We definitely see ourselves as a better two-day team. Batting time, being patient, that sort of thing.''
In other Harding Madsen Shield matches on Saturday, Northsiders travel to Toowoomba to face Metropolitan Easts, Centrals host Brothers at Limestone Park and the South East Redbacks meet Northern Brothers Diggers at Rockville.
The Ipswich Hornets resume their Queensland Premier Grade match against Norths at Baxter Oval on Saturday with the visitors on 9/302.
The in-form Hornets women first and second grade sides continue their steady progress in a series of one-day and T20 matches at Deagon and Chelmer.
Qld Premier Grade
Saturday: 1st Grade at Baxter Oval - Norths 9/302.
2nd Grade at Kedron: Norths 216; Ipswich Hornets 8/29.
Sunday: T20s - 1st Grade at Yeronga
Round 9 v Wests (10am)
Round 10 v Souths (2.30pm).
2nd Grade: Round 9 v Wests at Robina
Round 10 v Souths at Carrara.
1st Grade (50 overs) - Round 15 - Ipswich Hornets v Sandgate Redcliffe at Deagon.
2nd Grade (T20s): Ipswich Hornets at Chelmer
Round 7 v Valleys (10am)
Round 8 v Redlands (2.15pm)
Harding Madsen Shield (Saturday)
Laidley District v Marburg Mt Crosby Thunder at Bichel Oval
Metropolitan Easts v Northsiders at Harristown
Central Districts v Brothers at Limestone Park
Northern Brothers Diggers v South East Redbacks at Rockville
Wests vs Highfields & Souths v Uni in Toowoomba
Cricket Ipswich 2nd Grade
Laidley v Thunder at Mulgowie
Centrals v Northsiders at Sternberg Oval
Redbacks v Brothers at Raleigh Oval
Thunder Storm v Laidley at Tivoli No.1
Redbacks v Strollers Blue at Redbank Plains Reserve
Northsiders v Thunder at Marsden No.2
Strollers White bye.