Bears? finals run is over
By ADRIAN MILLER
THE Ballina Bears' run to the Far North Coast LJ Hooker (Ballina) cricket league finals is over after they were undone by a committed Marist Brothers attack at Fripp Oval, Ballina, on Saturday.
The Bears needed to secure first innings points at least, to have any chance of making the top four, but were bowled out for 115 chasing Brothers' total of 163.
Steve Prosser (4-40) and Craig Ferguson (3-24) were the stand-outs for Brothers, while no Ballina batsman was able to surpass Toby Horden's 34 last week.
Resuming on 6-70, it was always going to be tough for Ballina, but with captain Andrew Gordon returning to the side and Sean Staples still to bat, they had reason to be confident of overhauling the total.
But a rash shot from Gordon and good bowling from Adam Thompson (2-44) saw them finish short.
Gordon said the end result was extremely disappointing.
"We had a lot of things happen within club the last month but we thought we were on track to play finals this year, so the last couple of losses really hurt us," he said.
"When bad luck goes against you it's hard to keep pushing but we toughed it out as much as we possibly could. We'll really put in in our last game next week and hopefully we can finish off well."
CASINO Cavaliers have practically guaranteed their finals spot after they overhauled Alstonville's first innings total of 115.
The Cavs declared at 8-137 but it wasn't smooth sailing after some determined bowling from Damien Robb (4-32) reduced them to 8-99.
But some good lower-order batting from Wade Sweeney (45 not out) saw Casino home.
They sent Alstonville in for a second innings in the hope of an outright win, but Alstonville held them out to finish at 5-81.
Cavs captain Mal Hancock said it had proved a difficult wicket to bat on and some poor middle-order batting made it a nerve-wracking chase, but he was happy with the way his side stuck it out.
Sam Irvine retired hurt during his innings of 24 with back spasms, but he returned to the crease and Hancock is confident he'll be fit for the finals.
SOUTHS look to have second spot in the bag after they took first innings points against Norths-Goonellabah at Nesbitt Park.
Chasing 152, Souths never looked in trouble and eventually overhauled the target late in the day, posting 5-156.
Captain Richard Nind top-scored with 53, while Michael German 3-34 was the pick of the bowlers.
Nind said the win would be a confidence-booster heading into their last-round clash against Easts and their Byron Private Life One-Day competition semi-final next weekend.
"We've pretty much secured second spot now," he said.
"We had a hiccup against Tintenbar-East Ballina a few weeks ago but everything looks to be back on track now."
EASTERN Districts secured the minor premiership after a resounding win over Lennox Head at Neilson Park.
Chasing 182 for first innings points, Easts finished the day at 6 for 184 after a masterful 70 from captain Bruce Jobson and 46 from Paul Simes.
While Easts batted well it was a case of what could have been for Lennox after they missed numerous chances, including dropping Jobson while he was still in single figures and bowling him off a no ball.
Paul Milgate (4-38) was the pick of the Lennox bowlers.