Bulls double act outshines Tigers cameo - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bulls double act outshines Tigers cameo

By Laine Clark 14/10/2007 07:05:32 PM Comments (0)

The one-two punch of Queensland's Ashley Noffke and Chris Simpson had Tasmania on the ropes by stumps on day three of their Pura Cup cricket clash at the Gabba on Sunday.

Reeling at 2-4, the Tigers clawed their way to 3-201 in their second innings but still trailed Queensland by 185 runs with a day to play.

A 138-run, third-wicket partnership by veteran opener Michael Di Venuto (95 not out) and Travis Birt (72) stole the limelight late Sunday.

But nothing was going to upstage the Bulls' double act of Noffke and Simpson.

The unlikely batting heroes thrashed tons in an unbroken 203-run seventh-wicket stand that helped Queensland reach 6(dec)-544 and build an untouchable 386-run first-innings lead.

Known more as an offspinning allrounder, Simpson, 25, notched his maiden first-class century to be unbeaten on 107.

Noffke - who has made two Australian tours thanks to his pace bowling - hit his second first-class hundred, but only just.

Skipper Jimmy Maher told the pair that he would declare the innings just two overs after lunch - Simpson was 93 and Noffke 85 at the time.

"Jimmy gave us two overs, I wrangled three," laughed Noffke, who was mercifully given an extra over by Maher to reach 100 not out.

But Noffke was not done with Tasmania.

The 30-year-old remarkably backed up with the new ball to dismiss Tim Paine with the first delivery of the Tigers' second innings and had No.3 Michael Dighton (4) two balls later.

Asked if he was tired, the Sunshine Coast-based Noffke said: "That's why I used to get up at 4.30am in the whole off-season to drive here and do laps at training.

"Playing for Queensland doesn't get tiring, mate."

Noffke (2-52) celebrated his 300th first-class scalp when he had Paine caught behind by Maher.

Dighton struck a four with his first delivery but next ball was spectacularly caught in the gully by Noffke's partner-in-crime Simpson.

The right-arm spin of Simpson (1-44) then claimed the prized scalp of Birt, delivering a body blow to Tasmania just when they seemed to be picking themselves off the canvas.

Simpson's all-round performance has been impressive - but Noffke has been remarkable.

Besides his heroics, the blond speedster also claimed 5-33 in Tasmania's paltry first innings of 158 on day one.

Tasmania lost just twice in 11 appearances in 2006/07 on their way to an historic maiden Pura Cup title but they are staring down the barrel of defeat against a Queensland side missing 11 players through injury or representative commitments.

"After being 2-4 we had a good last hours. We are disappointed with how we have played so far but we haven't given up hope," Tigers captain Dan Marsh said.

But Marsh was clearly not impressed with Birt playing a loose shot and skying a catch to Grant Sullivan on 72.

"He had them on toast so to get out in that fashion was a little bit irresponsible I thought. I will have a chat with him tonight about his thought processes."

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