AN UNFORGIVING start with the ball gave the Services' A-grade the start they were after against Wondai as they barrel towards the one-day finals.
Out on Kingaroy's Lyle Vidler Oval, Wondai was under heat from more than just the beating sun after the Services dismantled its opening batsmen.
Services' Wayne Kelly said his team got off on the front foot with the ball but were unable to sustain the intense attack in the 30-plus degree heat.
"We took our foot off Wondai, they were 4/17 or something like that," he said.
"It was just sloppy fielding."
After Wondai's top order toppled, Rob Robarts on 57 and Clayton Graham, who finished with 35, picked up the run rate.
Despite their effort, Wondai was forced back to limp back to the sheds for a sub-par total of 120 off 43 overs.
Determined not to suffer a similar fate as Wondai's opening batsmen, Kelly along with Adam Geiger posted a solid partnership for the Services to build on.
"Adam and I took the shine off the ball," Kelly said.
Kelly said the heat on Saturday was almost intolerable.
"It felt like you were going to suffocate at times," he said.
"It was pretty hard to concentrate."
Kelly and Geiger saw out Wondai's attack with patience after they got their eyes honed onto the ball.
The pair almost made it through to the first drinks break at 15 overs but Geiger fell to a good catch.
Kelly said Geiger played admirably after his mother Lynda died last week.
"He would have a fair bit of weight on his shoulders but he can hold his head up high," he said.
"He batted well."
Before the game, a minute of silence was held, as well black armbands being worn by all teams to pay tribute to Lynda.
"What was really noticeable was the Warriors, who actually had a bye, but turned up and had a minute's silence," Kelly said.
"It was a sobering experience."
Services' captain and Lynda's husband Darren said the day was emotional but he was grateful for all the support.
"It was a nice gesture from all those in the South Burnett community," Geiger said.
"I just want to thank the South Burnett cricket community for their support."
Services won the game after they chased down the runs, five down, in the 22nd over.
Crusaders lucky to escape sting
THE Murgon Crusaders were given a shake-up at the top of the ladder after the Nanango Scorpions came within a handful of runs of winning.
Crusaders skipper Graham Brown said his under-strength team was slow to get off the mark with the bat and had to rely upon the middle order.
"We were way too slow in the beginning, we were only 4/79 from 30 overs," Brown said.
This forced Brown to dig in his heels alongside Damian Sippel to see out the 45 overs.
"Damian and I hit 119 off the last 83 balls," he said.
"We played a lot of good shots. We did the right thing."
Sippel, who finished 76 not out, and Brown, 41 not out, pushed the Crusaders over the line with a total of 5/207 for the Scorpions to chase.
Usually the Crusaders' opening bowler, Brown fell down the order to recover from his time out in the middle with the bat.
"I didn't open the bowling this week because I was too buggered after that batting," he said.
On the flat wicket, Brown said his bowlers had to work hard to apply pressure on the Scorpions, who scored at a steady rate.
"In all honesty, half-way through their innings I thought they would catch us up," he said.
But the Crusaders relented to bowl the Scorpions out for 202.
Scorpions' Brendan Weil said his team's bowling did not apply a tight enough squeeze on Murgon.
"In our second over of the game Dean Olzard was removed from our bowling line-up for bowling no-balls, head-hunters," Weil said.
Weil said this allowed the Crusaders to target his part-time bowlers.
Olzard was able to make up for his poor form with the ball after he scored 65 but fell just short of helping the Scorpions claw a win.
Services v Wondai at Lyle Vidler Oval
Wondai all out for 120 off 43 overs.
- Rob Robarts 57
- Clayton Graham 35
- Brett Porter 2/7
- Luke Medcalf 2/24
Services 5/122 off 22 overs
- Mark Schmidt 32
- Wayne Kelly 30
- Clayton Graham 2/11
- Karl Rowberry 1/15
Crusaders v Scorpions at Murgon Showgrounds
Crusaders 5/207 off 45 overs.
- Damian Sippel 76 not out
- Graham Brown 41 not out
- Michael Davies 2/34
- Dylan Gilliland 2/43
Scorpions 202 all out
- Dean Olzard 45
- Glen Doyle 31