Hicks lights up

A PATIENT knock of at the top of the innings from opener Michael Hicks helped steer Palm Beach-Currumbin to a solid 9-218 at close of play on the opening day of their Gold Coast Cricket first grade game against Southport at Salk Oval.

Hicks hit an impressive 87 and shared a 99-run third-wicket stand with his skipper Ryan Armstrong (38) to place his team in the box seat for next Saturday.

Also shining with the bat was Peter Anderson (47), who just missed a well-deserved half-century.

Best of the Southport bowlers were opening quick Reece McDonald, who nabbed 4-76 off a marathon 30 overs, and Matthew Barkley, who claimed two late wickets after earlier dismissing the dangerous Armstrong to finish with 3-35 off 12 overs.

English recruit Mark Wood failed with the bat, finishing with a duck, but the speedster is expected to have a major impact on the game when it is his turn to get the cherry in hand.

Wood reportedly can bowl in excess of 140kmh and can do plenty with the ball in the air and off the wicket.

A nagging knee injury has restricted his appearances to just batting, but he has been given the all-clear to bowl and everyone at PBC, and indeed in the competition, are keenly awaiting his bowling debut.

Well, perhaps not the Southport batsmen who will face up to him very early next Saturday, when no doubt he'll be as keen as mustard to show his qualities as a top-line fast bowler.

However, Wood and his fellow bowlers will need to be on song against the competition leader, which boasts a powerful batting line-up.

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