Rain delays crucial in Blue Bag's loss

A FULL day's play and and two hour and a half losses of play across the weekend could well have been Queanbeyan's enemy in their Douglas Cup grand final loss to Wests/UC at Manuaka Oval.

In bizarre circumstances, a completely rained out fixture would have seen Queanbeyan win the competition by default as the minor premiers, however as it eventated, patchy rain became their worst enemy.

And after losing the first innings by 49 runs to then having Wests/UC at 6/31 in their second innings, what was potentially 100 lost overs could have been Queanbeyan's loss.

But while the rain frustrated them, vice-captain Dean Solway said a stronger batting performance in the first innings could still have secured them the silverware.

"It was definitely a bowlers wicket and in the end it probably came down to the batting side that got through it," said Solway.

Solway said his side's response of just 130 was not good enough even though his men restricted their opposition to just 179.

"We had quite a few guys fail in our top order, myself included, but we also slipped up a little bit in the first innings and didn't get the most out of the new ball," he said.

"They were none for 67 which wasn't the best fo us. There were a few key moments on us that just fell over, but the time also came into it."

Batting was very hard on a soft and moist wicket that was affected by almost a weeks worth of rain in the lead up.

While Wests/UC had a head start of 0/67, they had a huge collapse of their own thanks to a six wicket haul from Queanbeyan and ACT representative quick Josh Bennett, and were soon 5/78.

Some late hitting and a couple scores in the 30's proved the difference in the end for Wests/UC, and it was this that Queanbeyan could not overcome.

They found themselves at 9/108 and only the tail-wagging of Vinesh Bennett brought his men within 50 on first innings.

His 22 was the highest score by a Queanbeyan bastmen.

With Wests/UC then in trouble at 6/31 in their second dig, there was a chance Queanbeyan could skittle them early and chase quick runs to win outright, but a game-best knock of 67 from Adam Hewitt ensured that would not happen.

"We were always just fighting the clock a little bit. We just didn't have enough time to put a second innings together," said Solway.

A huge positive for Queanbeyan was the performance of Josh Bennett, who earnt man-of-the-match honours with a 10-wicket match, with his four wickets in Wests/UC's second dig giving his side a glimmer of hope.

"It was really well deserved," said Solway of Josh Bennett. "Vele [Dukoski] toiled at the other end as well.

"Those guys worked really hard for us to give us any sort of chance."

The side, which Solway said will likely remain the same next season, will now enjoy a six month off-season before aiming to go one better next season.

At a glance

Wests UC 179 (Bartlett 35, Condon 33, Cusden 31*; J Bennett 6/27) and 123 (Hewitt 67; J Bennett 4/29, Dukoski 4/58) df Queanbeyan 130 (V Bennett 22; Riley 4/30, Bartlett 4/41) by 49 runs on first innings at Manuka Oval.

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