Stanthorpe fight for Mitchell shield home final

Team Vanuatu Red Jewels. Cricket was all about getting together for fun, laughs on Australia Day however it's a little more serious this weekend as local and representative teams vie for finals spots. Pictures by Chris Munro

By Tania Phillips

Defending Mitchell Shield Cricket representative cricket trophy holders Stanthorpe take on Lockyer on Sunday as they vie for a home final in the 2023-24 competition.

Stanthorpe, currently leading the inter-district competition just ahead of second-placed Toowoomba, will be bolstered by the return of two key players to strengthen their line up according to Stanthorpe Cricket Association secretary Anthony Coup said.

He said Stanthorpe was currently leading on nine points with Toowoomba on eight points with Lockyer and Warwick both on two points.

“We need to win this match on Sunday and even get bonus points to secure a home final for 11 February,” Coup said.

“We beat Warwick and secured two bonus points because we bowled them out for a hundred runs and getting the runs in 20 overs. But the Toowoomba side this year is quite strong and we don’t want them gaining two points and us not winning. Whoever finishes on top of the ladder secures the home final.”

Sunday’s game will be played at CF White in Stanthorpe while Toowoomba will face off against Warwick at Rockville Oval if both teams win it could come down to bonus points to decide who will host the final. The winner of the grand final then takes on the winner of the Knox Shield to decide the Slade Shield winner for champion side for Darling Downs and South West Queensland cricket 23-24 representative season. Stanthorpe are the defending Slade Shield champions beating Roma in gutsy a come from behind win in Roma in 2023.

They are hoping for a repeat performance this time around but first they have to get there.

“Lockyer had a good against Toowoomba, it was a close game I don’t think the scores reflected that but it was a close game from all reports,” Coup said.

“But we’ve got a couple of players coming back into the squad this week. Charlie Mongada and Callum Blake will be back, they were both Mitchell Shield players from last year and are pretty good cricketers.

“Mongada is a premier grade Toowoomba player, he is semi-retired and hasn’t played for a couple of years but he brings a lot of experience to our batting line-up. I think his past two or three scores have been in the 40s and 50s. He’s a Stanthorpe boy.

“Callum Blake is a Vanuatu player, he played Mitchell Shield last year and he brings more bowling depth to our line-up, he’s another quick bowler. We have a pretty good strike force going at the moment.

“The match will be streamed as well via our youtube channel.”

He said last season was a big one for Stanthorpe winning the Mitchell Shield and going on to win the Slade Shield making them the top team in the Southern Qld country region.

They kept themselves in the hunt for the title earlier this year with an impressive win over Warwick cruising to a seven wicket win at Slade Park in January to defeat Warwick in round two of the Mitchell Shield.

Stanthorpe welcomed back Toowoomba A grade opener Dean Sullivan who scored 41 off 51 balls backed up by Clement Tommy (24) and Nalin Nipiko (20) who also contributed to the chase.

Nalin Nipiko claimed an economical 3/18 off 8 overs in the first innings with middle order batsman Thomas Doherty the only form of resistance for Warwick scoring 34 off 83 balls.

However this time around they will be hoping their near neighbours Warwick put in a big performance against Toowoomba and don’t concede bonus points so they have the best chance possible of hosting the final.