Bears move up to third
By Steve Spinks
Ballina Bears have turned the competition on its head by winning outright over Lismore Workers at Fripp Oval, Ballina, in Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket.
Bears leap-frogged the Casino Cavaliers, Lennox Head and Norths-Goon-ellabah RSL to move into third position.
Resuming on Saturday at 1-44 and chasing Workers' lowly first innings of 96, Bears declared at 6-173 after Neil Lollback (45) and youngster Brendan Davis (44) had combined for a 76-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Bears skipper Andrew Gordon (3-38) and paceman Shane Jacobs (3-46) then skittled Workers for 122 before Lee Barnett (21 not out) and Toby Hordern (23) mowed down the required 45-run target with ease.
Bears now have to beat competition leaders Souths in the final round, or face the possibility of being swamped by Norths-Goonellabah RSL, the Cavaliers and Lennox Head.
Alstonville had their first win of the season and in doing so moved off the bottom of the Hooker League ladder at Oakes Oval, Lismore.
The plateau team's 7-190 was too tough for Marist Brothers, who slump-ed to be all out for 149.
Opening bat Derek Partridge (71) set up Alstonville's victory with a good knock, while Nathan Collins (38) and Greg Potter (28) also contributed.
Chris Matthews (3-26) and Craig Ferguson (3-36) bowled well for Brothers.
Matthews backed up a fine all-round game with 47 with the bat, while Ben Wraight (40) and captain Luke Collings (23) were the only other batsmen to trouble the scorer much.
Scott Petty (5-9) was easily Alston-ville's best bowler.
Norths-Goonellabah RSL surrendered second spot to Tintenbar-East Ballina at Nielson Park, East Lismore.
The Hawks were rolled for 95 on a suspect pitch, and the 'Bar passed the total untroubled at 3-100.
Luke Shay (3-4), Brett Crawford (3-27) and Dave Tickle (3-20) contributed to Norths-Goonellabah RSL's downfall.
Rodney Wells (23) and Joel Henderson (22) were the only Hawks batsmen to reach double figures.
Kent Shay (47 not out) and Crawford (29 not out) then ensured victory for the 'Bar.
Lennox Head look likely to miss the semi-finals after slipping from fourth spot because of their loss to Souths at Saunders Oval, Ballina.
Lennox were left to rue the one that got away after bowling the competition leaders out for 125.
Paceman Mark Denmeade (3-32) was the pick of the home side's attack, while Anthony Nind (34) was the only Souths batsman to make an impact.
However, Lennox's top-order wilted and lost 6-12 early in the run chase.
They never really recovered.