A CLUTCH eighth-wicket stand of 110 rescued Queanbeyan from first innings embarrassment against ANU last weekend, but it was the performance by youngster Lakshmn Shivakumar that stood out in the top grade fixture.
Batting at number six, on what was a rain-affected pitch at ANU , the 18-year-old made 97 and, combined with Mark Solway (38), another young talent, pushed the side's total to 194.
ANU seamer Jackson Long (4/56) proved devastating with the ball early on and the Bluebags' top order had no answers, as the first five batsmen fell cheaply.
When Solway joined Shivakumar at the crease, the scorecard read 7/45.
Despite the fact the ball was hopping both ways and the pitch had a solid grass covering, Shivakumar said he felt good walking into the middle.
"To be honest I really didn't feel that much pressure," Shivakumar revealed this week.
"I was able to keep my head, gutsed it out and just played my natural game."
He said when he came out to bat, things looked bleak for his side, but the support he got from Mark Solway was pivotal.
"Marky helped a lot by just getting those singles and we put a partnership together and were then able to put pressure back on the bowlers."
Despite falling just three runs short of his maiden first grade ton, Shivakumar was more than satisfied with his performance.
"It was great to be able to get a few runs and make a decent score," he said.
"It was a shame not to get the hundred but it was good just to get the boys to a defendable total."
In response ANU started shakily, with Vele Dukoski (3/28) taking early scalps. But number three batsman Shenal Siriwardhane showed poise to remain not out on 27 and steered the university to 4/62 at stumps.
The match, which will wrap up on Saturday, will carry little significance going into the semi-finals next weekend as the Bluebags are guaranteed at least fourth place but are too far adrift to snatch second and a place in the major semi-final.