VICTORY: Lane Beutel and Connor Maeyke walk off at the halfway mark after helping Ball Smashers post 76 runs, which the team defended doggedly.
VICTORY: Lane Beutel and Connor Maeyke walk off at the halfway mark after helping Ball Smashers post 76 runs, which the team defended doggedly. Alex Treacy

David beats Goliath at 7-a-side cricket

THERE is a particular line of thinking running through Australian cricket that goes something like this: if a player is young and shows talent, throw them in the deep end against the big boys.

Such is the case with Ball Smashers, a precocious group of Mundubbera junior cricketers who on Sunday night beat local opponents Fist Fulla Mongrel to win the Mundubbera 7-a-side Saucer at the annual carnival.

It was an incongruous sight, seeing a field full of juniors take on a team which towered over them height-wise.

However, as coach Wayne Pashley said, these young guns were used to being shortest on the field, with many of them participating in the men's T20 competition in Mundubbera on Thursday and Friday nights.

Coach Wayne Pashley and the victorious Ball Smashers.
Coach Wayne Pashley and the victorious Ball Smashers. Contributed

Others travel regularly to Bundaberg or Hervey Bay for representative cricket.

A strong half-century opening partnership between Jordan Parr and Connor Pashley paved the way for the sweetest victory of them all.

A notable feature of Ball Smashers' batting was their fleet-footedness in running between the wickets.

While the innings only featured a handful of boundaries, cheered on loudly when they were found, the innings was replete with threes, many of them coming through stolen overthrows.

Mr Pashley said field alertness and running between the wickets is a particular focus of their training sessions, even when the skills and drills they work on don't seem all that relevant.

"In 7-a-side cricket, teams are always thinking you've got to smash fours and sixes, but that's not necessarily true, you have to work the ones and twos,” he said.

"This is a fine example of going to training and working hard at it and getting the rewards.”

While Mr Pashley praised the team's "sound batting”, it was the way the team pulled together in the field which was the most satisfying for him to see, epitomised by how Ball Smashers didn't let a first-ball misfield for four runs deflate their on-field energy.

Bowling-wise, Ball Smashers never looked like not defending their 76 runs, their back-of-a-length bowling constantly thwarting attempts to send the ball over the rope.

"We had a plan to bowl a particular way,” Mr Pashley said.

"That was some of the best bowling I've seen the juniors do.”

Son Connor Pashley said the team was hungry for success this year, having been knocked out just before the saucer finals last carnival.

"We knew we had the win in the last over, they just had too many runs to get,” Connor said.

In the ladies' division, Scared Shotless, made up of junior cricketers from Mundubbera and Monto, showed much of the same alertness while batting, constantly scampering back for what seemed like impossible overthrows.

However, they were thwarted by the rain which dampened the outfield prior to their match.

The wetness didn't bother opponents Swing Both Ways, from Brisbane, as they frequently took the aerial route, but worked against Scared Shotless, whose game is built around deft placement and timing over raw power.

In the end, Scared Shotless fell 20 runs short of their target of 73.


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