A match of milestones up in Mackay

DESPITE the result, the Sheffield Shield game in Mackay this week was a huge success, and proved to be a game of milestones on many levels.

Obviously it was the first Shield game to be taken to the Mackay/Whitsunday region, and it was a contrast for two players at different ends of their careers for Queensland.

Mitchell Swepson became the 502nd player to debut for the Bulls, while stalwart James Hopes became just the 15th player to reach 100 Shield games for the state.

Perhaps the best achievement came from Matthew Renshaw, who beat Martin Love's record and became the youngest player to score a century for Queensland at 19 years 253 days.

If Billy Birmingham, AKA the 12th Man was still doing his commentary skits, he would have described Renshaw as the "Corpse with Pads On" after his patient, majestic knock that consumed 395 balls.

Jokes aside, I think we witnessed a player who could spend a lot of time opening the batting for Queensland. And who knows, if he heads down that path, then Australia could find itself with another big, left-handed Queenslander at the top of the order.

Despite the excitement on the last day up north, it's now time to forget about the dour, absorbing days of Shield cricket for eight weeks as the Big Bash League is on our doorstep.

'Rocket Man' is warming up his jet pack for his mid-innings flights across the Gabba, and the Heat batsmen have locked their techniques away in favour of countless slogs over the mid-wicket boundary.

The Brisbane Heat starts its campaign next Saturday at home against the Melbourne Renegades, and the game will have more West Indian flair than a game in downtown Bridgetown, Jamaica.

Master Blaster Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo will line up for the Renegades, while Lendl Simmons and Samuel Badree will turn out for the Heat.

Judging by the score on day one of the first Test against Australia in Hobart yesterday, the Windies would surely have loved to have had that quartet in their line-up.

Topics:  james hopes queensland bulls sheffield shield

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