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Cane Toads defy odds to snatch Div 1 title

The Ray White AKG Group backed Cane Toads Last Man Stands side have defied the odds to cause arguably the biggest upset in the competitions history, definitely the biggest in the fledging clubs history, by beating The Bucheurs by 22 runs to claim the Division 1 LMS Title.

An inconsistent season by the Cane Toads, which resulted in six-wins and six-losses; which also included two tight losses to eventual Finals opposition The Bucheurs, saw the Cane Toads LMS side finish the season in third position on the ladder with 64-points.

The Bucheurs (105 points) and the second-placed Boundary Chasers (79 points) both earned last weekend off for finishing the season first and second place respectfully, while the Cane Toads were forced to qualify for the finals through the hard way – needing to play against the fifth placed Middle Stumped (46 points) for a place in Sunday mornings Semi-Final.

In the Qualifying Final playoff the Cane Toads posted 149-6 from their 20 overs, where late hitting by Hayden Donnollan (37 from 23) and AJ Baker (35 from 25 not out) helped lay on late runs to lift the Cane Toads from what looked to be a mediocre total.

Despite the best efforts from Middle Stumped opening bat Jason Siebenhausen (50 from 36 not out) the side fell 30 runs shorts seeing the Cane Toads LMS side qualify for Sunday’s Semi Final, their opponents the Boundary Chasers.

Semi Final vs. The Boundary Chasers
Both sides arrived at Malling Street Oval for their must-win clash. The winner a place in the afternoon finals against The Bucheurs – who had earlier won their Semi-Final against Ump Yours to extend their streak to 13-wins in a row for the season easily chasing down the required 94-runs for victory in just 10.2 overs – the loser an abrupt end to the season, having come so close yet falling short at the final hurdle.

Considering the bipolar weather that had smashed South East Queensland pitch curator Robert Pearce and offsider Shane Harris had done a remarkable job to have the turf wicket ready and available for the days play.

The Cane Toads batted first with Hayden Donnollan joined at the top of the order alongside Matt ‘Bad Boy’ Bailey who helped set the tone for the innings. Both players scoring at a quick rate.

Bailey was sent back to the pavilion his innings of 13 from 18 deliveries coming to an end when he was bowled by Shane Hancox.

Enter Mitchell Le Prou who despite struggling to get the ball off the centre block early in his innings soon took charge, finding his groove and more importantly the boundary as the Cane Toads continued to tick the scoreboard over.

Donnollan was soon sent back to join fellow opening batter Matt Bailey when he was caught by Matt Simmonds to give Ben Schneider (1-32 from 2 overs) – who had been targeted by both batsmen – his only wicket for the match.

Justin ‘Carny’ Oliver proved difficult to play with his left-arm seam picking up the important scalp of Gavin Andrews for three before being taken out of the attack.

After Mitch Le Prou was forced to retire on 50 from 20 deliveries – an innings that included three boundaries and clearing the boundary three times – a middle order batting collapse halted the Cane Toads run scoring.

David Sheehan (six from seven) followed Gavin Andrews (three from eight) back to the dugout while skipper Callum Whiting (nine from 11) was caught short of his crease and was run out.

AJ Baker (16 from 14 not out) and Daniel Muller (12 from eight) added some much needed runs towards the backend of the innings before Muller was trapped LBW on the last ball of the innings.

The Cane Toads had set a competitive 6-137.

The Boundary Chasers were forced to face an up hill battle early after losing their top three, Jason Hart (bowled by Donnollan for two from four), Jake Burns (caught by Baker off Sheehan for nine from eight) and Shane Hancox (caught by Donnollan off Le Prou for five from three) in quick succession.

Ben Schneider (47 from 42 not out) was joined by Lachlan Wilson with the pair doing their best to remain in touch with the required run rate. The untimely departure of Wilson – bowled by AJ Baker for 32 from 29 – eventually ended the match as a contest with Tim Rule caught and bowled by Gavin Andrews for nine from 10.

Matt Simmonds joined Schneider and was able to add 14 from 10 but The Boundary Chasers fell short finishing their 20 on 5 – 121. The Cane Toads winning by 16-runs and qualifying for the Division One final.

Grand Final vs. The Bucheurs
Since the inception of the LMS Beaudesert ‘The Bucheurs’ have been a benchmark team, boasting some of the most talented players in Last Man Stands cricket and their continued on-field dominance.

They have been the team to beat since the 2020 Spring competition when they won seven out of the 13 matches played, suffered four losses and two draws, where after Qualifying for that seasons Grand Final against the Craft Tappers – which they went on to win by one-run in a thrilling final – they went on a 25-match winning streak in the LMS Beaudesert competition which included the 2021 Winter Division 1 title, and 12 straight wins during the 21 Spring Season.

In Sunday afternoons final they were hunting for their third-straight Division One title in the competition to continue to showcase their dominance and exactly why they are ranked the number one team in the competition, hold a national rank of 20 and a global ranking inside the top 100 teams.

However, they were not the only side hunting for their third straight title. October 2020 the Cane Toads LMS side competed in their first match… with five players. Over the weeks more players came to fill in and ended up staying.

They made the annual LMS Beaudesert T10 Final held in January, where they surprised many by qualifying only to take the match to the last ball.

Since then they have been inconsistent through the regular season, they qualified for (and won) the Division 3 Plate play off, before stepping up into Division 2 of the competition for winter – where once again they had to qualify for the final the hard way.

The Cane Toads on that day secured the Division 2 title, and decided to test themselves in Division 1 this season – after winning their Qualifying Final and Semi Final – the Cane Toads themselves where hunting their third straight title.

Batting first the Cane Toads sent Hayden Donnollan and Matt Bailey to open the innings, and open it they did.

Donnollan provided the power hitting early, and at one point in his innings it looked as though his blistering innings had come to an end when he was brilliantly caught on the boundary by Jamie Bickerdike only for the fielder to realise his foot was on the boundary and to his credit signalled that it was a six rather than the much needed dismissal his side needed.

Matt Bailey twinged his hamstring running between wickets which hampered his ability to be as active in between the wickets that he would’ve liked, and it looked as though the Bucheurs had put him out of his misery when a mistimed shot went sky high with Bucheurs keeper Matt Turbill running in and taking the catch… until he hadn’t and the ball slipping straight through the gloves handing ‘Bad Boy’ Bailey another life.

After being demoted from his role with the gloves Turbill showed he catches better without them when The Bucheurs finally made the breakthrough with Hayden Donnollan caught by Turbill in the deep (with bare hands) for 46 from 29 deliveries – which included three fours and three sixes .

What little momentum the dominant Bucheurs achieved with the wicket was soon short lived as Mitch Le Prou entered the scene and did… well… he did what Mitch Le Prou does and was soon finding the boundary.

Matt Bailey was dismissed, bowled by Newman for a run-a-ball 39, but by the time Le Prou had reached his 2nd half century in as many matches and was forced to retire on 53 from 28 deliveries – which included one boundary and five sixes – the Cane Toads had already set a reasonable total, one many pundits thought was on par for how the pitch had played throughout the day with 149 – 2 from 20 overs.

Runs were hard to come by for The Bucheurs – who many predicted with their history and current run of wins would easily account for the Yarrabilba Cane Toads – however tight fielding and bowling ensured the required run rate quickly inflated.

While Josh Browning and Daniel Lake did what they could at the top of the order the introduction of Gavin Andrews into the bowling attack. Gavin Andrews is ranked the third best bowling for Last Man Stands in Australia and ranked number six on the same chat globally.

He showed why when in quick succession he had both openers removed. Josh Browning caught by Mitchell Le Prou for 25 from 19 deliveries, while also trapping Daniel Lake in front LBW for 19 from 18 deliveries.

Lance Newman was only able to manage to add five runs from seven deliveries before he was run out following some quick sharp fielding resulting in Bailey – who due to his hamstring had moved to behind the stumps – whipping the bails off with Newman caught short.

AJ Baker had Samla Matthews caught by Donnollan for 14 from 11 deliveries and that truly sparked the beginning of the end for The Bucheurs unbeaten run as Jamie Bickerdike (three from five), Pubudu Gayan (eight from nine) and Matt Turbill (three from four) all departed quickly leaving Josh ‘Yappie’ Graham as the LAST MAN STANDING.

Despite the game being out of reach Graham did his best, reaching 48 from 29 but with his side needing over 24 runs from the final five balls he was dismissed caught by Mitchell Le Prou to end The Bucheurs innings on 127.

The win means the Cane Toads have now won the Div 3, Div 2 and Div 1 titles in consecutive seasons, and will be hunting to obtain automatic qualification to the 2022 Aussie Championships when they take to the field next season.

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