Monday, 31 October 2011

Warriors, Bulls battle for top spot

 Liam Davis

Western Australian skipper Marcus North doesn't believe the air-traffic chaos that almost saw the Sheffield Shield clash between the Warriors and Bulls postponed by a day, will have any effect on WA's preparation for this match.
The top-of-the-table clash between Western Australia and Queensland was originally put back 24 hours to Wednesday after the Qantas grounding on the weekend saw the Bulls stranded in Brisbane.
But when former Queensland Cricket sponsor Strategic Airlines stepped up to fly the Bulls to Perth, the game shifted back to its original start date.
North, though, said the unusual changes wouldn't make any difference to his side.
"Yesterday I had the day off so I was just chilling with the family, and got the odd text through saying it's on Wednesday, then back on Tuesday," North said.
"Our preparation was always to train today ... so it's not going to distract us."
"Obviously Queensland have had a bit of an issue with their travel, so they will probably feel a lot more than certainly we have."
The Bulls and Warriors, two states who have under-performed over recent seasons, find themselves in the unlikely top-two positions on the Sheffield Shield table heading into this encounter.
Queensland have been particularly impressive, the Bulls utterly destroying reigning Shield champions Tasmania by an innings and 28 runs in their last Shield encounter as Ryan Harris produced a devastating 6-70.
With a maximum 12 points from their opening two matches, Queensland find themselves four points ahead of WA, who came within one wicket last Friday of also having a perfect record, as South Australia's last two batsmen held on for a draw in a rain-affected clash at Adelaide Oval.
The Warriors will have the opportunity, though, to leapfrog the Bulls into top spot if they can take first-innings and maximum points in this encounter.
However, as has often been the case with the Warriors, the good has been mixed with the bad, as WA have lost both their games in the Ryobi Cup competition.
And, it's this inconsistency of form that means North certainly isn't taking this recent Shield hot streak for granted.
"We're playing some good cricket in that format and hopefully we can continue on against Queensland this week," he said.
"It's been good because it's not just the same blokes performing in the four-day format."
"There's guys putting their hand up throughout the first two games. The batters seem to be in form and the bowlers are certainly doing their work as well."
"As an all-around performance we're doing okay."
"But we don't want to get ahead of ourselves, we've got about three games in three weeks, so after that we'll have a good understanding of exactly where we stand."

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