What a thriller: Tigers super over win ignites season
AS a self-confessed "old school'' cricketer, Stephens Humphreys wasn't a huge fan of the T20 format.
That was until the latest Len Martin Cup series where Northsiders won a super over to claim the title following an enjoyable fortnight of fast and furious matches.
The Northsiders club president, opener and now first-time coach batted in the super over with another experienced cricketer Nick Verrenkamp to secure the grand final victory over a powerhouse Laidley side.
But even the super over was nailbiting. Player of the tournament Verrenkamp hit a boundary off the last ball at Walker Oval to overhaul Laidley's 2/7 target.
Northsiders talent Dom Salton had bowled the previous over to contain Ipswich Logan Hornets captain Anthony Wilson and his brother Chris.
Anthony had scored 150 not out the day before in the Hornets' five-wicket win over Sandgate Redcliffe.
"It was very exciting,'' Humphreys said, praising both teams for a quality encounter.
"I've never been involved in a super over before.
"The whole tournament and the start to the season was really good.''
The super over was set up after Laidley finished on 7/133 chasing Northsiders' 9/133 off their 20 overs.
Salton bowled the final over for Northsiders with Laidley needing eight to win.
"Dom bowled a great last over,'' Humphreys said.
He backed it up in the super over.
The Northsiders side was led by Troy Cooper, who Humphreys rated the heart of the team along with rapidly emerging players like Salton.
Northsiders' only loss over the two weekends was to Centrals in their last pool game.
However, they beat Thunder, Warehouse and Laidley, who fielded a number of Hornets and Darling Downs Big Bash players.
"We went into the competition with some expectations,'' Humphreys said.
"We've had a longer pre-season than we have in the past.
"We kind of changed a few things up and to get the final, playing against Laidley is always a contest.
"Those contests with Laidley are always played hard and fair and we still have a lot of respect for those guys.''
However, Northsiders stood up to the massive challenge.
"Every player in our 12 in the final contributed to the win. There was not one standout performance,'' Humphreys said.
"It was a complete team effort from us.''
Verrenkamp topscored for Northsiders in the grand final with 29.
Laidley's highest run scorer was Hornets all-rounder Bryn Llewellyn with 43.
Humphreys couldn't be happier how the Tigers progressed in the tournament after a longer pre-season with an extra night of training.
"We used it, from our club's perspective, as an opportunity for some young blokes, who had come through our junior pathway into senior cricket,'' he said.
They included teenage debutants Zac Fisher, Caleb Doyle and Cody Dalziel who received valuable game time at various stages of the competition.
"I've never been much of a fan of T20 and the format. It is just so quick,'' Humphreys said.
"I'm a bit old but it was really good.''
Fresh from their T20 tournament success, Humphreys said Northsiders were keen to continue their pleasing start in the annual Harding Madsen Shield one-day competition starting on Saturday.
This season's series involving Toowoomba teams will be a round robin format rather than in pools.
Northsiders face the Brian May-led Wests in their opener in Toowoomba.
"Wests are always a daunting proposition,'' the Tigers coach said.
But after seven weeks of training and a successful T20 hitout, Humphreys was upbeat.
"We feel good about where we are at,'' the loyal Norths clubman said.
"We've used this tournament to bring some guys in and to see what some guys can do.
"We're coming into the season well placed and there will be some good battles.''
The club president and valuable cricketer supports the expanded format where everyone plays each other.
"It's great to have the opportunity to play different teams at different venues,'' Humphreys said.
"It's certainly good from our club's perspective. We've got an eye on this year and an eye on the coming years and we're bringing young fellas through.
"It's good to get those young fellas playing different people as well.''
STATE OF PLAY
Len Martin Cup grand final: 1-Northsiders v 3 Laidley at Walker Oval.
Northsiders 9/133 (20) - Troy Cooper 11 (12), Corey Flood 25 (33), Nick Verrenkamp 29 (27), Steve Doyle 18 (15), Shane Krings 21* (18), Chris Butts 12 (6); Bryn Llewellyn 1/16 (4), Noah Emerson 2/16 (4), Darryl Muckert 1/27 (4), Brendan Lawson 1/29 (3), Andrew McIntosh 2/32 (4) tied with Laidley 7/133 (20) - Bryn Llewellyn 43, Anthony Wilson 14, Noah Emerson 13, Brendan O'Keeffe 27, Andrew McIntosh 10*; Dom Salton 2/24 (4), Stephen Humphreys 1/24 (3), Nick Verrenkamp 1/29 (4), Troy Cooper 1/11 (3), Billy Harsant 2/9 (2)
Northsiders won the superover.
Northsiders 0/10 - Stephen Humphreys and Nick Verrenkamp, bowler Bryn Llewellyn
defeated Laidley 2/7 - Anthony Wilson, Chris Wilson and Bryn Llewellyn; bowler Dom Salton.
Semi finals: 1-Northsiders v 4-Marburg - Mt Crosby Thunder at Marsden No.2.
Tigers 1/64 (12.4) - Stephen Humphreys 11 (7), Chris Butt 10*, Corey Flood 29*; Ray Coleman 1/7 (4) defeated Thunder 62 (16.5) - Lee Watts 15, Ray Coleman 10; Callum Wilton 1/8 (4), Stephen Humphreys 1/18 (4), Dom Salton 1/3 (2), Billy Harsant 4/24 (4), Troy Cooper 1/6 (2.5).
2-Central Districts v Laidley District at Walker Oval.
Laidley 7/152 (20) - Dan Wilson 29 (20), Chris Wilson 24 (18), Bryn Llewellyn 24 (23), Anthony Wilson 32 (37), Noah Emerson 16 (9), Travis Ilka 11 (7); Alex Dell 1/31 (3), Sam Strong 1/19 (3), Brendan Ashton 1/24 (4), Adam Jordan 3/14 (3), Jamie Koch 1/26 (2) defeated Centrals 8/101 (20) - Sam Strong 14 (22), David Lyell 33 (35), Tom Cupit 13* (15), Alex Dell 10 (16); Bryn Llewellyn 1/7 (3), Darryl Muckert 2/23 (4), Brendan Lawson 2/9 (4), Andrew McIntosh 2/17 (3).
Harding Madsen Shield Round 1 games on Saturday
South East Redbacks v Central Districts at Raleigh Oval
Brothers v Marburg Mt Crosby Thunder at Marsden No.2
University v Laidley District at USQ
Western Districts v Northsiders at Cook No.7
Diggers v Mets at Cook No.6
Souths v Highfields at Middle Park