Cavs fight hard on tough wicket
THE Casino Cavaliers made a hard-fought 175 against defending premiers Southern Districts at Nielson Park, East Lismore, on the opening day of Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket on Saturday.
In reply, Souths are 0-15.
On a pitch described by Casino captain Adam Shields as one of the 'most ordinary' he has ever played on in Lismore, the Cavaliers did well to make a competitive total.
Former Cavaliers captain Mark Bratti, who had a year away from the Hooker League last season, top-scored with 43.
Mal Hancok (35), Shields (24) and Todd Summers (24) also contributed well.
However, young bowlers Wade Sweeney (22) and Scott Shephard (14) combined to make a 36-run 10th-wicket stand which will give the Cavs something to defend.
Souths' player of the match in the final last season, Paul McLean, starred with the ball this time.
McLean, a top-order batsman, picked up impressive figures of 4-25 off 19 overs, including 10 maidens, with his off-spin.
Ballina Bears made 179 against Alstonville at Hill Park Oval, Wollongbar, with rookie Sam Adams top-scoring with 68.
Adams played second grade last season, so it was an impressive first-grade debut.
Besides Jason Holmes (22), no other Bears batsman made more than 20 despite most getting a start.
Ben Johnston (3-28) and Scott Petty (3-38) were the pick of the Alstonville bowlers.
Norths-Goonellabah RSL scored a solid 195 against Lennox Head at Saunders Oval, Ballina, with No8 batsman Steve Lockhart salvaging the innings with a timely 80.
At one stage the Hawks were 6-77, but Lockhart and the reliable Nathan Bonamy (29) came to the rescue.
They were the only batsmen to master the bowling after Lennox Head's new recruit Glen Watkins (4-37) and fast bowler Mark Denmeade (3-50) made early inroads.
Lismore Workers were welcomed back to the Hooker League after a two-year hiatus with a tough day in the field.
Marist Brothers hit 269 at Nesbitt Park, South Lismore, with former Brunswick Valley batsman Adam Gadowski top-scoring with 60 for his new club.
Craig Ferguson (38), Luke Collings (36), Steve Arnett (23) and Pat Foran (22) helped push on to an imposing total.
Opening bowler Mick Hall (3-58) and Alan Glasby (3-43) snared the best returns for Workers, but special mention must be made of captain Les McGuire.
McGuire picked up only one wicket, but bowled 17 overs with a broken finger.