Walkerston's Joel Bock bowling to Magpies’ Brant Attard.
Walkerston's Joel Bock bowling to Magpies’ Brant Attard.

Walkerston left to play catch-up after openers rained out

While the competition leaders revel in a late return to Poole Cup action, Walkerston is left to lament missed opportunities to play catch-up.

That was the word from Scrubby all-rounder Joel Bock, who said washed out matches against Souths and Pioneer Valley were “bad timing” for the reigning Poole Cup runners-up.

Just one point separates Scrubby and Brothers atop the Poole Cup standings, with both sides sitting pretty on five wins and one loss at the turn of the calendar year.

However the duality of the draw meant that Brothers’ return to action would have been much harder than their rivals.

Whereas Walkerston had winnable games against winless Pioneer Valley and the second-bottom Souths, Brothers’ opening fortnight pit them against fellow finals rivals Norths and Magpies.

“It was pretty bad timing for us really,” Bock said.

“We had a couple of games we thought we had a good chance of winning and maybe getting some extra points in too.”

Instead Walkerson’s return game this weekend will be against Norths – the team that knocked them out of the T20 Shootout and boasts a two-game win streak over Bock’s men.

“It’s a bit of a grudge match this one,” the all-rounder said.

“We have a bit to come back from … they’ve beaten us twice in a row now. We’re pretty keen to not let it become three.”

In Walkerston’s favour is their recent 40-over record against Norths; in their last Poole Cup encounter on November 14, Bock starred with five wickets and 40 runs in a tone-setting 69-run win.

“It’s always the game I look forward to the most, is playing against Norths,” Bock said.

“Their team on paper should win (the Poole Cup) undefeated, so it’s always an awesome challenge to go up against them. They really do set the standard for the whole comp.

“(The rivalry) is starting to get a bit of heat into it.”

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Norths sits one game and eight points behind Walkerston, setting the scene for a potential season-defining clash between two Mackay Cricket heavyweights.

Bock knows how important a win on Saturday is to Walkerston’s premiership hopes. He said the memories of last year, when Magpies won by default as the highest seed, still burned within the playing group.

“Last year is still in the back of everyone’s brain. We don’t want to finish second come semi-finals time,” he said.

“We don’t want rain or anything else to keep us from winning a grand final. We want to make sure if we’re there, we’re the top team.”

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