Topics:  bourke/hendry shield, cricket, slade park, stanthorpe, warwick

Cricket teams vie to claim victory in shield match

John Cleary, pictured bowling in Schaeffer Shield cricket in Toowoomba this season, is a key for Warwick in Mitchell Shield tomorrow at Slade Park.
John Cleary, pictured bowling in Schaeffer Shield cricket in Toowoomba this season, is a key for Warwick in Mitchell Shield tomorrow at Slade Park. Kevin Farmer

CAN Stanthorpe negate the all-round skills of John Cleary and win the Bourke/Hendry Shield game at Slade Park tomorrow?

If all-rounders are judged by success with bat and ball in each game, Cleary has four from four this season.

The wickets made no difference as he shone on both turf and synthetic wickets.

In round 1, he scored 95 not out in a match perform-ance described as the best by a Warwick team in Mitchell Shield against Lockyer for a decade.

A fortnight ago, he was also a star in a Mitchell Shield victory against Central Downs with 74.

In two games, he has 169 runs off 94 balls at an average of 169. His strike rate is 179.78 runs per 100 balls.

With the ball, Cleary took three wickets in round 1 and two in round 2 for a total of 5-46 off 18 overs at an average of 9.2 runs a wicket and strike rate of one wicket per 21.6 balls.

Yesterday, Cleary attributed his success with the bat in part to the starts by the top order, especially opener Brendan Malone who has 143 runs at an average of 71.5 and strike rate of 98.62.

"I like coming in at number five with runs on the board. The good starts and time in the middle help with my form," Cleary said.

"I try to play it as it comes. If I can't hit a four or a six, I try to take a single to keep the momentum going."

With the ball, Cleary said he had tried to mix his pace more this season with more slower balls in the wake of injuries in recent seasons.

"Everyone in the team is positive and keen to win the Mitchell Shield," he said.

Last season, Cleary was odds-on to make the Queensland Country side except an injury limited his bowling at trials.

With the ball, Chris Cantwell and Cleary have half the Warwick wickets in Mitchell Shield.

Cantwell has 5-40 at an average of eight runs a wicket, conceding just 2.86 runs per over.



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