Centrals all-rounder Matt Guest.
Centrals all-rounder Matt Guest. Cordell Richardson

Norths no easy-beats says Centrals' Guest

THE FIGHT for a top-two spot and home final continues today, when Centrals host Northsiders in the return of IWMCA two-day competition.

Centrals sit 10 points shy of second-placed Brothers at the halfway point of the season.

However with one game in-hand over the rest of the competition, and Brothers facing the daunting task of travelling to take on Laidley today, Centrals have a perfect opportunity to reassert their push for a home final with a win over the Tigers.

But despite Northsiders' relative struggles this season - with just one win from five matches in the two-day format - Centrals all-rounder Matt Guest cautioned there would be no "taking Norths lightly” at Mark Marsh Oval.

"They've got a very talented side, with a lot of depth coming through Second Grade as well,” Guest said.

"We're not thinking about that bye in-hand. We're quietly confident about how we will perform, but we have to back it up (today) for things to work out.”

Guest appreciated the longer than usual mid-season break over Christmas, but said he quickly grew to miss the mateship and camaraderie which comes with playing cricket each weekend.

He and a few Centrals teammates returned to action last weekend in a Webb Shield defeat to Warehouses at Mark Marsh Oval.

With much of the Christmas rust now brushed off, Guest cast his eye back over Centrals' first half of the season and pointed to some areas which could do with improvement.

"There's always some improvement to be had,” he said.

"Our fielding probably needs to pick up, and our death bowling - although that was particularly for the one-day games.

"Just focus on our line and length, and when we have the bat put the bad balls away. That's our main focus.”

Guest named three Norths players capable of causing the home side headaches today.

"I think Dom Salton, definitely when it comes to the two-day stuff,” Guest said referencing the Norths quick.

"Then Troy Cooper and Ryan Benson. They're three handy players no team should take lightly.

"But they also have Matty Fairhurst and Dylan Blackman who can always score runs. The whole side is a talented one.”

Respect aside, Guest said he was confident Centrals could do the job over two weekends and put themselves in a strong position for a top two run.

Toowoomba trip a big Webb Shield test

TOMORROW the Ipswich Pioneers Webb Shield team travel down the road to face Toowoomba with a place in the Webb Shield final at stake.

With Warehouses already assured of their place in the decider after a pre-Christmas win over Toowoomba was followed by an 11-run defeat of Ipswich last weekend, the two winless teams have all to play for at Captain Cook Reserve.

Centrals all-rounder Guest was the only Pioneer to get going during the Ipswich innings on Sunday, after the hosts restricted Warehouses to just 144 runs. Guest blasted 55 from 77, but was lacking partners with only Wayne Jones (16) and Marcus Hillier (16) managing to make double figures.

"Toowoomba in Toowoomba is always a tough game,” Guest said.

"This weekend we really need to focus on getting one of the top six to score big and bat out the 50.”