All on the line as semis near
EVERYTHING goes on the line this weekend in the crucial penultimate round of Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket.
Nine teams are still in the hunt for a finals berth, four teams face do-or-die matches and no one is safe at the top of the ladder.
Round 12 is highlighted by a top-of-the-table clash between Cudgen and Ballina Bears at Reg Dalton Oval, Kingscliff.
Cudgen held on for a rain-affected draw last weekend while Ballina took full points to grab top spot.
The winner of their clash starting today will move to the lead.
For the loser the consequences are not as bright.
With the high-flying Casino Cavaliers and Marist Brothers to play lower-ranked sides, the loser of the top clash could drop back to third or fourth and find themselves in a scrap to secure a finals position.
Bears will need their top-order batting to fire against a Cudgen side which has lost just once on home turf this season.
Brothers will host lowly-ranked Murwillumbah in a match that has big implications for the finals race.
Brothers are fourth with five teams snapping at their heels, but if they take full points from Murwillumbah they can effectively end the seasons of Alstonville, South Tweed Colts and Terranora Lakes.
An upset loss could see Brothers fall to sixth.
Alstonville and Souths face off in a season-defining match at Hill Park Oval, Wollongbar.
Alstonville will be finished if they lose, while Souths probably need to win both their remaining games to stay alive but face Cudgen in the final round.
Tintenbar-East Ballina host the stuttering Casino Cavaliers, who have collected only five competition points in the past month after leading the league through the middle part of the season.
Tintenbar-East Ballina haven’t lost since Round 6 but will need to be on their game as the third-placed Cavaliers look to cementa finals spot with a win.
Terranora Lakes and South Tweed Colts will host must-win games against Lennox Head and Pottsville.
Lennox Head and Pottsville are now playing only for pride with their seasons over in terms of the finals.
Pottsville are still searching for their first win while Lennox will play for their first since Round 6.
Brunswick-Byron host Lismore Workers at Thompson Oval, Brunswick Heads – the only match with no bearing on the finals picture.
If you’re struggling to make sense of the finals jigsaw you aren’t doing much worse than us – get out and watch a match this afternoon and grab The Northern Star on Monday where we may be able to paint a clearer picture.