Short of the Mark
By STEVE SPINKS
TINTENBAR-East Ballina fast bowler, Mark Newstead, has succumbed to injury and will miss this weekend's Far North Coast L J Hooker League final against Southern Districts at Lismore's Oakes Oval.
Newstead injured his back in only his second over in last weekend's semi-final victory over Norths-Goonellabah RSL.
He went on to complete 10 overs later in the day, but he was far from top pace.
"He hasn't been able to walk for a week," Tintenbar-East Ballina captain Duncan Elphick said.
"He's missed a week of work and had medical attention, but he's still not right.
"We'll definitely miss him, but we've still got plenty of people who can bowl and the bowlers are just going to have to lift that little bit."
Newstead has played every match for the 'Bar this season and is one the side's leading wicket-takers. He is also one of the most committed trainers.
"He's devastated," Elphick said.
"He's also a very good finals player and we'll also miss his batting."
The 34-year-old is said to be in such pain that he may miss a further week of work.
Newstead's injury will definitely hurt the 'Bar.
But they are somewhat covered in the seamers department with all-rounders of the quality of Luke Shay and Brett Crawford able to take the new ball.
Young batsman James Fosterling has been named as Newstead's replacement, while Mick Gabriel will retain his position after he replaced Fosterling last weekend due to the schoolboy's unavailability.
Minor premiers Southern Districts have had their own worries this week with Lennox Head appealing to the Hooker League committee for a reversal of last weekend's semi-final result after the seasiders had to bat on a water-affected pitch.
A mix-up between Lismore City Council groundstaff saw the Oakes Oval pitch watered too much overnight and left Lennox Head an impossible task of reaching a further 100 runs on a sticky wicket.
However, the appeal was dismissed on Wednesday night and Souths will get the chance to defend the title they won last season.
"We were never really worried," Souths captain Richard Nind said.
"It was totally out of our control.
"They (Lennox) had to try to get a decision, but I didn't think there was any doubt we would be playing this weekend."
Souths have named a full-strength line-up with opening batsman Brad Lofts back in the side after he missed the controversial semi-final because of work commitments.
Tintenbar-East Ballina have contested four Hooker League finals, for two wins and two losses.
Souths have contested two finals for two wins.
That 100 per cent final conversion rate could be the point to swing an argument in favour of the minor premiers defending their crown this weekend.
Play starts at 12pm.
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS: R Nind (c), A Nind, B Lofts, R Parrish, P McLean, M Nind, L Blok, S Coster, C Bateman, D McDonald, P Fredericks.
TINTENBAR-EAST BALLINA: D Elphick (c), B Crawford, P Dalli, M Warburton, L Shay, K Shay, M Gabriel, D Tickle, S Hogden, J Fosterling, M Grant.
n This weekend will also see the conclusion of Lismore District Junior cricket and Lismore District senior cricket.
n Pura Cup final: See page 110