Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Teaching Value of Aiming High; Ipswich Sportsman Leads by Example

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Teaching Value of Aiming High; Ipswich Sportsman Leads by Example

Article excerpt

Byline: David Lems

AS a regional teacher, Ben O'Connell enjoys encouraging his students to strive high in a range of disciplines.

That includes sport where he is West Moreton Anglican College's Director of Rugby.

However, it's in cricket where the WestMAC Middle School head of year eight has excelled in recent years.

O'Connell, 30, represented the Queensland Country Brahman's team for the fourth time at the Australian Country championships in South Australia early this year.

The Queenslanders finished third in Mt Gambier, a year after winning the national title and when O'Connell was named player of the tournament.

"We underperformed in both our two-dayers, where more points count,'' the allrounder said.

"We lost both of our two-dayers and subsequently couldn't finish any higher.''

Given limited opportunities with the ball this time, his best bowling effort was 4/13 in the last one-day match against the East Asia Pacific side.

He made some 20 and 30 run contributions batting at number four.

While hoping for a better finish at his latest campaign, O'Connell enjoys every opportunity to play representative cricket.

"It's good to be back playing at that higher level,'' he said.

The powerful left-handed batsman and spin bowler will have plenty of competitive cricket to play this season if his Ipswich club side Centrals secure a first division semi-final spot.

Centrals can keep their two-day premiership hopes alive by beating Brothers this weekend to qualify for the semi-final a week later.

Third-placed Centrals hope to build on their progress after losing the T20 final to Laidley at Baxter Oval on Monday night.

"We've been a bit more consistent this year, which is good,'' the captain said.

"We'd like to be sitting a bit higher in second place but leading into this last round knowing we have to win just gives us that bit more drive and incentive to not let off.''

While helping Centrals is a major focus, O'Connell is unsure whether he'll contest a fifth national country titles next year. …

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