Cavaliers into semis despite two-run loss
By STEVE SPINKS
ONE swashbuckling over with the bat from Casino Cavaliers tailender Al Nowlan almost stole an unlikely victory for his team against Southern Districts at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino, on Saturday in the Far North Coast LJ Hooker League one-day cricket knockout.
Nowlan, better known as a fast bowler, smashed 16 runs off the second-last over of the 45-over match and had the Cavaliers on the cusp of victory, needing only six runs to win from the last six balls.
However, a miserly spell of medium-pace bowling by Dale McDonald won the match for Souths when he allowed only three runs off the last over.
Souths' 7-168 was just enough to edge out Casino's 8-166, but the Cavaliers still qualify for the semi-finals as the best-performed losing team.
It was undoubtedly McDonald's finest hour since becoming a regular in the Souths first-grade team this summer.
His 2-12 off four overs changed the direction of the match as he cut the ball around on a two-paced wicket.
Nowlan (28 not out), Sam Irvine (38) and Matt Jones (25) were the only Cavaliers batsmen to master the bowling.
Earlier, a game-high knock of 77 not out by Michael Nind salvaged Souths' innings after they looked in trouble at 3-55 off 25 overs.
"He grafted early because the pace of the wicket was difficult to pick up," Souths bowler Paul Fredericks said.
"But after that he hit the ball pretty cleanly. He looked like the Michael Nind of old."
Nind was well supported by the experienced Rex Parrish (25) and Len Blok (22).
Souths' two-run victory continues their pre-Christmas trend of close matches.
In the first round of the one-day series, Souths tied with Tintenbar-East Ballina.
Then, in a scheduled two-day match cut back to a one-dayer, Souths tied with Norths-Goonellabah RSL, a second tie in three weeks.
At Saunders Oval, Ballina, Tintenbar-East Ballina made short work of a 10-man Ballina Bears outfit.
The 'Bar cruised to 4-132 in reply to the Bears' 128 with youngster James Fosterling shining with the bat with a well made 43 not out.
For the Bears, Sam Rippon (20) and Neil Lollback (22) were the only batsmen to reach 20, while left-arm medium-pacer Mark Grant picked up 3-12 for the 'Bar.
A depleted Eastern Districts was still good enough to grind out a tough win over Marist Brothers at Nesbitt Park, South Lismore.
Without NSW Country players Tom Cooper and Ian Gregory and all-rounder Brett Ruttley, Easts looked like they would do it tough against a Brothers team on the improve.
However, Gregory's younger brother Paul stepped into the breach and snared 4-18, while Dale Ledger (2-17), Daniel Wells (2-11) and Jake McKinnon (2-24) all chipped in, bowling out Brothers for 113.
In reply, Bruce Jobson secured the win with a well-made 63 not out.
At one stage Easts were 3-34, but Jobson stood firm to ensure victory, Easts passing Brothers' total five wickets down.
In the semi-finals, Tintenbar-East Ballina will play Souths, while Easts take on the Cavaliers.
Both are expected to be day-night matches at Oakes Oval, Lismore, on Friday, January 28, and Sunday, January 30.
Dates and venues are still to be confirmed.