By Liam Emerton
The first round of the Capricorn Challenge got underway this weekend with Gracemere Bulls making their intentions very clear.
The 2020 Capricorn Challenge champions are eyeing off the 2021 title after a phenomenal start to the season, beating the Capricorn Coast Parkana by 67 runs.
The Bulls won the toss and elected to bat, which proved to be the right choice.
Openers Todd Harmsworth and Luke Johnstone made a quick-fire 58 runs before Harmsworth was knocked over on 39 runs by Ryan Walsh.
That brought Trent Acutt to the crease who enjoyed the best batting display of the opening round.
Acutt made an unbeaten 88 runs from 106 balls, staying out in the heat for over two hours.
Acutt knocked nine fours and one six, helping to take his Bulls to a strong total of 228 runs.
The Parkana’s innings didn’t start quite so well, losing wickets on 23, 24 and 29 before a solid partnership between Luke Nixon (31) and Ryan Brooks (17) gave the Yeppoon-based side some hope.
But the pressure of losing overs and several short partnerships later saw the Bulls bowl Cap Coast out for 161 runs.
That dominant win by the Bulls had helped them make a statement ahead of a long season.
In the second game of the weekend, the T20 grand final teams faced off, this time in the 40-over format.
Frenchville Falcons opened the batting in the match against Rockhampton Brothers, scoring 197 runs while only losing 5 wickets.
Lachlan Hartley was the main man for the Falcons, scoring 59 runs off 72 balls.
Although it wasn’t all perfect for Frenchy who saw Jack Harris run out for a diamond duck (0 runs from 0 balls) in an incredible scene at Rockhampton Cricket Ground.
Brothers’ chase started in the worst possible way, seeing their first four opening batsmen dismissed for under 10 runs.
Riley Connor (37) and Tim Reid (26) tried to manage a comeback for his side but Connor was eventually trapped in front and dismissed for LBW before Reid was caught out.
The remaining four batsmen were knocked over for a combined five runs as Brothers conceded 95 run loss.
The revenge would have been sweet for Frenchy who just last weekend took that tight loss in the 20-over grand final.
Callum McMahon was the Falcons’ best with the ball, securing three scalps for nine runs from six overs.
That result for Frenchville has rocketed them to the top of the table with Gracemere Bulls closely following behind.
This weekend will be a week off for the local clubs as our representative sides take the pitch for the North Queensland championships.
Central Queensland will have an opens and under-21s side leading the charge with the full report featuring in Saturday’s edition of CQ Today.