Career best: Queanbeyan's Josh Bennett on his way to 6-27 against Wests at Manuka Oval.

Career best: Queanbeyan's Josh Bennett on his way to 6-27 against Wests at Manuka Oval. Photo: Graham Tidy

Queanbeyan paceman Josh Bennett starred with a six-wicket haul, but defending Douglas Cup champion Wests/UC is refusing to hand over its crown quietly.

A couple of vital breakthroughs before stumps has reignited hopes of Wests/UC going back to back after it was bowled out for 179 in its first innings at Manuka Oval on Saturday.

The decider is evenly poised, with Queanbeyan resuming on Sunday at 2-21 with its two best batsmen at the crease going into the third and final day.

Wests batsman, Sam Carters, is caught behind off the bowling of Josh Bennett. Click for more photos

Queanbeyan v Wests in Douglas Cup final

Wests batsman, Sam Carters, is caught behind off the bowling of Josh Bennett. Photo: Graham Tidy

  • Wests batsman, Sam Carters, is caught behind off the bowling of Josh Bennett.
  • Wests batsman, Sam Carters, left, only managed 2 runs before being caught behind off the bowling of Josh Bennett.
  • Wests batsman, Sam Carters, only managed 2 runs before being caught behind off the bowling of Josh Bennett.
  • Wests batsman, Matthew Condon, in action.
  • Queanbeyan's Guy Gillespie, bounds in to bowl.
  • Queanbeyan's Guy Gillespie, about to bowl.
  • Queanbeyan's Vele Dukoski, pictured here bowling to Matthew Condon, who loses balance after being hit on the pad.
  • Queanbeyan's Vele Dukoski, pictured here bowling to Matthew Condon.
  • First to take a wicket for Queanbeyan, was Josh Bennett, pictured here bowling to Darren Richards.
  • First to take a wicket for Queanbeyan, was Josh Bennett, pictured here bowling to Matthew Condon.
  • First to take a wicket for Queanbeyan, was Josh Bennett, pictured here bowling to Darren Richards.

Adelaide Strikers batsman and ACT Comets captain Jono Dean is on 16 alongside Futures League player of the year Vele Dukoski (four).

Queanbeyan only needs a draw in the rain-affected game to secure the silverware, while Wests/UC will be desperate to knock over the final eight wickets and collect consecutive two-day titles.

Wests/UC captain Ben Oakley said his side would take some lessons from Bennett and hope to exploit the seam-friendly pitch.

"With the pitch the way it is, we're happy with 180 and we think we can defend that,'' Oakley said.

"We got off to a good start with the bat, but they bowled well through the middle overs, especially with Josh Bennett.

''We'll take what he's done and try and replicate that and use the pitch a bit more than they did early.''

After struggling with his footing early, Bennett regathered himself to finish with career-best figures of 16-6-27-6.

"I kept slipping at the crease and was 0-14 off three overs, but once the sun dried I was all good,'' Bennett said.

"My best figures for Queanbeyan before this was three for something, so to play the grand final and get 6-27, I'm stoked.

''I swapped ends and got a really good rhythm from the far end.''

Wests/UC got off to a fantastic start with openers Matt Condon (33) and Darren Richards (25) putting on a 67-run stand.

However, Queanbeyan wrested back control as Wests/UC lost five quick wickets for 11 runs to slump to 5-78.

All-rounder Ethan Bartlett scored an invaluable 35 runs as the tail wagged to help Wests/UC post a competitive target.

It looked even more formidable as Dale Riley (1-5) and Oakley (1-15) knocked over brothers Dean and Mark Solway for ducks.

That didn't stop Jono Dean from playing his natural game as part of an entertaining individual battle with Strikers and Comets teammate Oakley.

Dean swiped a hook shot from his first ball in between the two fielders on the boundary, before he was struck in the helmet by an Oakley bouncer.

"That's Jono; he's made a living off that. He'll always go you,'' Oakley said.

"It was a good bit of fun. 

''It's an even contest, [but] I'd say he's on top because he's still there.''

DOUGLAS CUP GRAND FINAL
Wests/UC 179 v Queanbeyan 2-21 at Manuka Oval. Play starts at 10.30am on Sunday.