Queanbeyan District Cricket Club to feature in four grade finals

TORNADO force winds and pouring rain may have forced an early end to their batting practice, but Queanbeyan skipper Blake Dean says his men are in best spirits ahead of their three-day semi-final clash with ANU starting on Friday.

It comes as The Queanbeyan District Cricket Club celebrates having four of five grades enter this finals series this weekend.

Frist grade's drawn final round, dead-rubber clash against Eastlake came to an abrubt finish last Saturday afternoon as a sudden storm hit Queanbeyan.

However, with the Bluebags having already secured the Douglas Cup minor premiership in the penultimate round, the fixture was used as a warm up heading into the business end of the season.

And despite some valuable batting overs being washed away last weekend, Dean said his men's form against each of the top four sides over the last six weeks would drive them towards their first two-day title since 2011/12.

"We've played Eastlake and Wests recently and have been under some pressure in those games," said Dean. "I think we're sitting pretty well at the moment and most of the batsmen are feeling pretty confident."

Cowra product Michael Cartale has been one of Queanbeyan's best strikers in recent weeks, with half centuries in his last two knocks going with 279 runs in his eleven outings with the Bluebags.

His 52 runs against Eastlake in the final round came from just 23 balls and included a six that almost smashed through the Queanbeyan Kangaroos leagues club.

"He's been in terrific form for us in the last couple of games," said Dean. "The reason we played on a little bit against Eastlake was to get a couple blokes in form that needed a hit ... it's all about preparation for the finals."

ANU squeezed into the finals by a tiny quotient margin despite a first innings loss to Weston Creek-Molonglo after North Canberra-Gungahlin, Ginninderra and Weston each failed to secure outright victories.

The game will be played at Stirling Oval, but Queanbeyan's winning form should see them topple ANU as they did outright just three weeks ago.

"Most batsmen are in form, and we've got Josh Bennett to come back in," said Dean.

Queanbeyan will also be boosted in the bowling ranks by the return of Comets gun Bennett and the stellar forms of quicks Sam Taylor and Vele Dukoski, as well as Dean himself.

Dukoski was the club's highest wicket-taker with 28 scalps during the season, while 78 wickets have fallen between each of the four main bowlers.

Dukoski will take his best form into the ANU final having taken 4/42 against Eastlake which was his best showing for the season.

Meanwhile Queanbeyan will also feature in the second, third and fifth grade finals this weekend.

The fifth grade side took their minor premiership with the first grade side and are a great chance in taking a championship finishing two wins clear a top of their competition.

They will face Wests UC in the what is surprisngly the club's only home fixture for the weekend.

Second and third grade both finished third, and willl face North Canberra-Gungahlin and Wests-UC respectively away.

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