Poole Cup post-season path laid bare for Brothers
Brothers skipper Matthew Wicks says the wet start to the Mackay Cricket calendar year is likely a dual blessing in disguise for his side ahead of a return to action this weekend.
The Poole Cup competition leaders dodged matches against finals rivals Norths and Magpies over the past fortnight, as persistent rain delayed a return to the 40-over competition.
With Harrup Park’s pitches now ready to roll, Brothers will instead open their 2021 campaign against a winless Pioneer Valley on Saturday.
The skipper said Brothers’ good fortune in avoiding tough outings against Norths and Magpies was made better due to the club’s place atop the standings.
“Every week that’s washed out is an opportunity you don’t have to make up ground on someone in front of you. So for that reason, you want to be at the top or as close to the top as you can be,” Wicks said.
“So really, it takes a bit of pressure off us going into the back end of the season. If we drop a game here or there it’s not fatal to our season, whereas those teams looking to scrape into that third position, one loss in a crucial game could be the difference.”
In nursing a hamstring injury he sustained in a T20 defeat to Norths on December 5, Wicks said the forced extended break likely aided in his return as well.
Brothers’ strength has long been its bowling contingent, spearheaded by Wicks.
The skipper said he was not yet sure if he would bowl this weekend, but promised he was close to full fitness.
“It’s probably saved me from myself a little bit, in trying to come back before I was ready,” Wicks said.
“Ideally I won’t have to do much bowling (this weekend) – we should have enough depth that I don’t need to.
“But I’ve been able to run on it pretty well. Now it’s just working out how much load it can take.”
Brothers’ run to the top of the Poole Cup standings before the switch to T20s was predicated on its new-found batting depth.
Wicks said batting would again be the key to Brothers retaining its top billing and making a run at the Poole Cup title.
“We’ve always bowled well to good plans and stuck to those plans. I think the key to us being successful is really our batting. That’s been the difference for us this year compared to previous years, when we haven’t quite been in the mix,” he said.