CRICKET: Laidley captain Alex Welsh believed his side was ill-prepared for its Harding-Madsen Shield final on Sunday, with a prolonged Christmas break playing its part in the loss to Wests of Toowoomba.
With cricket taking a break over the Christmas period and Laidley facing a bye in the opening round of two-day fixtures for the year, it was the Blue Dogs' first taste of action in several weeks.
Laidley had romped to an eight-wicket win against Wests on the opening day of the season and continued through to the final undefeated.
But the Toowoomba side, even missing a couple of key players in Shaun McCarthy and Brian May for the decider, was too good on the day to claim back-to-back one-day titles at Baxter Oval.
After losing four quick wickets early on to sit at 4/31, Laidley was given hope by the in-form Jason Cubit (70).
He combined with Andrew Pickering (48*) for a 75-run partnership, but once Cubit was dismissed at 6/141, Laidley's bottom order was able to add only another 18 runs before collapsing.
Wests reached their target in the 38th over with a loss of only three wickets to lift the trophy.
Welsh said it was crushing to finish as runner-up after dominating the competition.
"Credit to the Wests' boys, they outplayed us on the day but to play so well as a team throughout the whole one-day competition and then play that bad in the final was very disappointing,” Welsh said.
"My opinion is that it comes down to poor preparation, the wickets that we lost early, they weren't really bad shots, it was more of a little bit of laziness.
"They were bowling full and straight balls and we were missing them. It's not down to skill, it's a lack of preparation.
"It's been a month since we've played cricket with the Christmas break then we had a bye, in that month we knew we had a grand final... (a lack of preparation) is what it came down to, even the preparation that we did do was probably not enough.”
Coach Craig Jesberg rued a missed opportunity.
"Every week when we got stuck in the mud, we pulled ourselves out,” Jesberg said.
"Today, we just didn't show that. Usually we can rely on the guys in the lower order to get us out of that hole; today one was run out and the other was taken by a great catch on the fence.
"Jason Cubit batted wonderfully for us at the top, but trying to get someone to bat around him... we just couldn't build a partnership.”
The two-day competition will be Laidley's last chance of silverware for the season and, with a victory over Central Districts under its belt from round one, it will next face the South East Redbacks.
"The best thing you can do after loss is get back up out there and have another game,” Welsh said.
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