Just over two weeks on from their first clash of the season, Queensland and Tasmania met again for a subsequent Marsh Sheffield Shield as Townsville’s Riverway Stadium. Winning the toss and electing to bat, the home side made the most of the batting-friendly pitch.
Opener, Bryce Street, fell early, caught by captain, Beau Webster, off the bowling of Lawrence-Neil Smith, but other than that, the momentum was all with the Bulls. Remaining opener, Joe Burns, made a gallant 79, but the hero of the day was number three, Marnus Labuschange. After being given a life in the 20s, Labuschange went on to make 136 runs off just 208 balls, before his wicket finally fell just before the close of play.
At stumps, Queensland had the upper hand, sitting on 3-311.
It was a case of rinse and repeat when day two of play kicked off, with the Queenslanders continuing to enjoy free-flowing runs in Townsville. Bulls’ captain, Usman Khawaja, became the side’s second centurion of the innings, notching an impressive 119 runs off 184 deliveries, before Matthew Renshaw also decided to join the party, finishing unbeaten on 120 off just 167 balls. Riley Meredith snared a couple of late wickets for the Tigers, dismissing Jimmy Peirson (7) and Jack Wildermuth (1) cheaply, before the hosts declared at 6-487 halfway through the second session of the day.
Meredith (2-59 off 23 overs) and Lawrence Neil-Smith (1-48 off 20) were the best with the ball for the Tigers, after a tough innings in the field.
Hoping to emulate the Bulls’ success at the crease, Tim Ward and Caleb Jewell strode out to the middle to open the Tasmanian innings, however, unfortunately Ward couldn’t emulate his heroics from his side’s last outing against Queensland, and was dismissed for 11.
Jewell, however, looked more than comfortable at the crease, until first gamer for the Bulls, Connor Sully, had him caught behind after what was incredibly his first ball bowled in first-class cricket.
In for the injured Ben McDermott, Charlie Wakim, got a start before being caught off the bowling of Matt Kuhnemann for 34, however Jordan Silk had better luck, being dropped on 12, and then adjudged not out following an unusual catching situation a while later.
At stumps, the Tigers sit on 4-150, trailing Queensland by 337 runs with six wickets in hand. Silk (45*) and captain Beau Webster (20*) are the batters not out overnight.
Things got off to somewhat of a disastrous start for the Tasmanians on day three. With hopes pinned on Jordan Silk to turn his 45 not out overnight into a big score, it wasn’t to be, when he was sent back having added just an addition two runs to his tally.
This sparked somewhat of a collapse, with the Tigers losing their remaining six wickets for just 32 runs in 19.1 overs, seeing them all out for a meagre 182 - 305 runs behind the Bulls’ first innings total.
In a surprising move for some, Queensland captain, Usman Khawaja elected not to enforce the follow on, and sent his openers back out into the middle. The Bulls made making runs look easy on the same wicket the Tigers had struggled on just hours earlier, with Marnus Labuschange particularly impressive, striking an unbeaten 60 runs off just 46 balls.
It was over as quickly as it began, with Khawaja calling his troops back to the sheds at 1-132, setting the Tasmanians a target of 438 runs to win, with four-and-a-half sessions of play remaining to get the runs.
Thankfully for the Tigers, their second innings started in a much more fruitful fashion, with openers Caleb Jewell and Tim Ward looking much more comfortable at the crease, on their way to half centuries. Ward unfortunately suffered a nasty knock to the head and was dismissed shortly afterwards for 54.
At stumps, the Tigers sat on 1-127, setting up an intriguing final day of play. Jewell (65*) and Charlie Wakim (4*) were the batsmen not out overnight.
It was another shaky start for the Tigers with Queensland getting the early break on day four of the clash. Charlie Wakim was sent packing on 5 runs in the 48th over after watching a ball from Kuhnemann run away with the bails.
The session continued to crumble in quick succession with Silk dismissed for a duck in the following over, giving the Bulls a comfortable start to the day.
The Tigers were in desperate need of a steady hand to rebuild alongside Jewell, who looked set to make his first century of the season. But it wasn’t meant to be with Labuschagne coming around the wicket to get his first LBW and dismissing Jewell on 90 off 157.
Both Doran and Webster were beginning to look settled at the crease after lunch, developing a necessary partnership to keep the win alive for the Tigers. Doran cruised to a handy 47 (105) but Kuhnemann hit once more to send him back to the dugout just short of a half-century.
Webster appeared to be in firing form with multiple fours and sixes under his belt, making 36 off just 46 balls. He found himself LBW at the start of the 80th over leaving the final day of play looking bleak for the Tigers.
Tea was never had with the next few wickets falling hard and fast, just too late for the Tigers. A last-minute dash from Freeman (41*) and Meredith (20) was not enough to snatch victory from the bulls, who won by 96 runs.
FULL SCORECARD: cricket.com.au