Title charge

HE’S had to put his 21st celebrations on hold. But a Queanbeyan victory in this Sunday’s one-day final against Tuggeranong would prove the perfect birthday gift for Bluebags batsman Dean Solway.

Solway, who turned 21 earlier this week, has put his traditional festivities on ice as Queanbeyan prepares for its biggest game of the season to date.

Sunday’s match will be Queanbeyan’s first crack at a title in 2013/14 following the side’s semi-final eliminations in both the SCG Cup and Konica Minolta Cup Twenty20 competition’s in the past few weeks.

It’s also a remarkable turnaround in a short space of time for the club.

Queanbeyan initially appeared to have missed out on even making the one-day finals less than a fortnight ago after crushing back-to-back defeats to finish the regular season.

But after final calculations saw the Bluebags scrape into fourth on net run rate alone, Queanbeyan regrouped with an impressive 29-run victory over minor premiers Weston Creek in last weekend’s semi-final.

“The first couple of rounds after Christmas we were pretty down on ourselves,” Solway acknowledged.

“We thought we’d missed the one-day semis and missing out in the Konica semi-final in difficult circumstances meant the guys were all a bit disappointed.

“But we had a trace of luck scraping into the top four in the one-dayers and then turned things around with a good performance in the semi-final so it’s turned into a really good opportunity for us.”

Queanbeyan welcomed back key opener Jono Dean for last Sunday’s clash and the Big Bash batsman didn’t disappoint, belting 84 in a 154-run opening partnership with younger brother Blake Dean.

Despite battling a side strain, Jono Dean line-up for Queanbeyan this weekend.

Sunday’s final will be played under lights at the recently redeveloped Manuka Oval, an experience Solway said would add an extra dimension to the clash.

“A lot of us haven’t played at Manuka since the lights have gone up and a few of the guys haven’t played under lights at all before so it adds something a bit extra to it,” he said.

“Fielding under lights is always a bit different. Hopefully there aren’t too many high balls coming out of the light towers.”

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