Cavaliers get up in thrilling finish
By Steve Spinks
Two wickets off the last two balls of the match from fast bowler Al Nowlan handed the Casino Cavaliers their second consecutive Far North Coast LJ Hooker one-day cricket title.
Nowlan held his nerve in the final over as the Cavaliers (173) defeated Southern Districts (172) by one run in a thriller under lights at Oakes Oval, Lismore, on Friday night.
The Hooker League veteran paceman was brought on to bowl the final over with Souths needing six runs to win with three wickets in hand.
"The first ball went for two leg-byes," Casino captain Adam Shields said yesterday.
"The next was a single and the next a wide."
However, tailender Craig Bateman was run out off the wide, leaving Souths needing only one run to tie and two runs to win off four balls with two wickets to spare.
"The next two deliveries were dot balls," Shields said.
"Then Al cleaned bowled the last two.
"It salvaged the year.
"It would have been a pretty bad weekend if we hadn't won."
The Cavaliers bowed out of the Hooker League two-day competition on Saturday after being leapfrogged by Lennox Head in the final round.
Nowlan finished with 4-32 off nine overs.
Earlier, boom colt Sam Irvine held together a shaky Cavaliers top order with a well-made 77.
He was well supported by Sam Dietrich (32), but 173 didn't look enough against a Souths batting line-up that has been on fire recently.
Rex Parrish (36), Michael Nind (27), Richard Nind (26) and Len Blok (26 not out) looked to have won the match for Southern Districts, but in the end they fell just short.
The runners-up were not helped by the loss of former Sydney first grade No3 Paul McLean, who was a late withdrawal because of illness.
It was Souths' first loss of the season in one-day or two-day cricket.
Shields praised Irvine for his application during the youngster's lengthy stay at the crease.
"He batted very well ... very sensibly," the Cavaliers skipper said.
"He says he's off to the Gold Coast Dolphins (Brisbane first grade) next year.
"I hope he does go and we wish him all the best."