Raptors fall tantalisingly short of dream final
T20 CRICKET: The grand final was tantalisingly close for the Valley Raptors.
They had led the Darling Downs Bush Bash League for several weeks in a tight pack, and seemed certain for a spot in the grand final.
But two games changed everything.
A loss to Livewire Lightning sent the Raptors to second on the table, and into the semi-final play-off for the last grand final spot.
And then under lights at Cahill Park last Tuesday, a second disappointing loss to the George Banks Umbrellas meant the dream of an inaugural series win was over.
Team founder and co-owner Ian O’Brien said the loss had been disappointing.
“Livewire Lightning got too many runs and we couldn’t chase them down,” O’Brien said.
“We just didn’t get enough runs against George Banks.”
The Raptors post 98 all out for their innings and set about trying to defend the total.
But the Umbrellas proved too strong with the bat, reaching to target in just over 16 overs to finish four for 102.
Despite the early end to the season, O’Brien was pleased with the teams results.
“In general our season was great,” he said.
A highlight from the season was the semi-final on home turf at Cahill Park.
The game was the first cricket match played under newly installed lights, and O’Brien said the match drew the biggest crowd he’d seen at a cricket game in the Lockyer Valley.
Over the season, he said the Wood brother duo of Jack and Harry had been the standout players for him – both presenting complete cricket packages on the field.
“They’re terrific guys – Jack bowls leg-spin and he can bat very well. Harry bowls pace and he’s an aggressive batsman,” he said.
Both players handled themselves well through out the tournament he said.
Other surprises included Lachlan Vellacott and Shanley Neuendorf.
The Raptor’s Ben Gibson finished second in the race for leading wicket taker with 10 wickets, losing out to John Cleary on best figures.
Gibson posted a best of 4/14 with a strike rate of 13.70.
O’Brien also paid credit to captain Alex Welsh and coach Lenny Martin for their work in the season.
While the 2019 season may just be a few days over, O’Brien is already looking ahead to next year’s season with excitement.