Tigers hungry to jump clear
CENTRAL Districts ventured to Jensen Oval on Saturday confident of hauling in Northsiders at the top of the division one ladder.
They have been made to think again after the Northerners proved why they are deservedly in top spot.
The Tigers finished day one on 8-302 with a declaration likely.
Their dominance was established by the top order with opener Tim Clarke making 106 and first drop Michael Hillier scoring a free-flowing 77, which had them 2-213 at one stage.
"It's good when you have one of those days," Northsiders captain Marcus Hillier said.
"You plan to bat all day and it comes off.
"We had a good start with (Daniel) Green (30) and Timmy (Clarke). We were no wicket for 80.
"Then Michael came in and slaughtered them.
"He just put away the bad balls.
"That's the way he bats."
On a wicket that has resembled a land mine for some top orders this season, Northsiders showed they are masters of their temporary home patch.
"The wicket was a little bit soft early," Marcus said.
"I said 'we've got to do it tough in the first hour'. We did that.
"We were patient and left the better balls alone."
Clarke has returned to the form that has made him one of the most reliable openers in Ipswich in recent seasons.
"He looks like he's in complete control of his game," Marcus said.
"He doesn't look like getting out and he hits the bad balls for four."
With Centrals' frontline bowlers struggling, it was left to veteran part-timers Jason Verrall (3-51) and Wayne Jones (2-14) to stem the flow.
By then Northsiders were looking for quick runs and not concerned about losing wickets.
"They were pretty flat," Marcus said of his opposition's demeanour by mid-afternoon.
Winning the toss, Northsiders were able to minimise the absence of South Queensland fast bowler Kev Cumming who will be available for day two.
Conversely, Centrals missed the spin bowling services of Ben O'Connell, in Cairns with Cumming.
"He usually bowls a lot of overs for them," Marcus said of O'Connell.
"The plan was to keep them in the field all day. I think they rocked up thinking they were number one.
"We let them know (they weren't). I think it was a bit of an eye-opener."
The Tigers skipper expects a hard graft next weekend to claim first innings points.
"We'll back ourselves to defend 300," he said.
"They're still a good team.
"We just had a good day."
A win will open up a huge gap at the top of the Ipswich and West Moreton Division One ladder.
Given the mid-term weather forecast, Hiller will happily take it.
"You don't know what the weather's going to do," he said.
"We don't want to rely on other results like last year."
STATE of PLAY
A Northsiders win over Central Districts could see them open up a 25 point gap at the top of the Division 1 ladder.
The winner of Eastern Taipans and Laidley will sit in third spot while Swifts and Brothers are fighting to avoid last place.