QUEANBEYAN spearhead Josh Bennett says the struggling side will use its unexpected finals lifeline as a “second chance” as the club attempts to resurrect its one-day title campaign.
Queanbeyan finals hopes appeared to have been dashed after the side’s crushing 69-run to last-placed North Canberra Gungahlin in the final round of the regular season last Saturday.
But the Bluebags were given a reprieve after Cricket ACT’s final standings saw the club edge Ginninderra on net run rate to sneak through in fourth place.
“The whole side was actually down at Manuka watching second grade win the [Twenty20] final on Sunday when we found out we’d snuck through,” Bennett said.
“After the loss on Saturday we definitely thought we were out so we couldn’t quite believe it. You could definitely see everyone perk up.
“Hopefully we can use it as a bit of second chance and it can be the catalyst we needed to turn our form around.”
But while they can now prepare for a semi-final appearance against Weston Creek this Sunday, there is no masking the enormity of the challenge facing an out-of-sorts Queanbeyan outfit.
Heading into the finals, Queanbeyan could not be in worse form with the side having slumped to heavy defeats in each of its past two one-day matches.
The Bluebags also produced a subpar performance in the side’s Twenty20 semi-final loss to Albury Wodonga last Saturday.
And Bennett admitted he was at something of a loss as to the reasoning behind the form slump after the side had previously enjoyed a strong start to the season.
“Especially since we had that big loss [to Wests] the weekend before when we’d vowed to turn it around,” he said. “To go out there on Saturday against Norths and lose like that in a similar fashion, it definitely wasn’t great.
“We’re training hard but individually we’re just not putting in the performances we need to on the field.
“I’ll put my hand up and say I haven’t had the season I want but it’s not for lack of trying and that’s the same for the rest of the guys. The effort is there. All we can do is continue to work hard and hopefully it will turn around.”
Of particular concern heading into Sunday’s clash will be Queanbeyan’s wayward recent performances with the ball after the Bluebags sent down an astonishing 40 wides against North Canberra.
“I can’t quite pinpoint why everyone is bowling so many wides all of a sudden to be honest,” he said. “It’s come out of nowhere really.
“I think maybe once one person starts bowling a few, the other bowlers start to think about it a bit more and get a bit nervous about it and it starts to get inside your head.
“It’s definitely something we as a unit have to take responsibility for and turn it around.”
John Gallop Cup, semi-final
Who: Queanbeyan v Weston Creek Molonglo
Where: Stirling Oval
When: Sunday, 11am