Spinner stars in Ballina Bears win
By ADAM HICKS firstname.lastname@example.org A DEVASTATING spell from Ballina Bears' Lucas Barnard destroyed the Casino Cavaliers' run chase in their Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket match at Fripp Oval, Ballina.
Four wickets in four overs from the English left-arm spinner enabled Bears to continue their late-season charge with an 83-run win over the competition heavyweights.
Bears started strongly with an 80-run opening partnership before Barnard's countryman Josh Fleming was trapped in front on 33.
Toby Hordern remained solid at the crease and posted the game's highest score of 71.
Sam Adams scored freely at No 3, making 45 from 35 balls. Ben Carruthers came in with five overs remaining and smashed 41 from 25 balls to take Bears to 4-222. Mark Mison did best with ball, taking 3-54.
Needing more than five runs an over, the Cavaliers got off to terrible start when they lost opening bat Myles McDowell for a duck.
Buoyed by the return of Sam Irvine, Scott Shephard, Wes Koskela and Sam Dietrich from representative duties, the Cavaliers regrouped with Irvine and Shephard combining for a 60-run second-wicket partnership.
Shephard managed 28 and Irvine went for 38 before drinks.
After the break Barnard ripped through the lower middle order to have the visitors at 7-115.
Bears captain Shane Jacobs cleaned up the tail to finish off the Cavaliers for 139 and secure the Ballina club's fourth win in a row. Jacobs said Barnard's spell secured victory.
"Once he came on just after drinks the game was all over," Jacobs said.
"He bowled outstandingly. They were three down, he took four in four overs and the game was effectively over.
"We just bowled and fielded really well and put the pressure on them with ball after the batters did an excellent job."
Jacobs praised Hordern for the maturity he showed in batting through most of the innings.
"Toby has been getting starts every week and getting out. He has been working really hard to bat through the innings and is slowly maturing into a top batsman," Jacobs said.
"I've been telling him for a while he's as good as any of these young batsman and he just has to start believing it. Hopefully now he does.
"Toby is good mates with Sam Irvine and always talks about how great Sammy is, and I keep telling him you could be not far behind him if you start believing in yourself."
Jacobs said the win gave his side extra confidence going into their match against Southern Districts this week.
"They had a full-strength team. They certainly had no excuses; we just outplayed them. They are still a good team; we just had the better of them," he said.
"Souths should be a good game. "We take the attitude that we're playing the best teams and it is bringing the best out in our guys.
"If we keep playing the way we are we can compete with anyone, and Souths are the best team in the comp by a fair ." 1. Tintenbar-East Ballina 59 2. Cudgen 57 3. Southern Districts 56 4. Casino 51 5. Byron-Brunswick 46 6. Ballina Bears 44 7. Lennox Head 40 8. Alstonville40 9. Terranora Lakes 36 10. South Tweed Colts 34 11. Murwillumbah 31 12. Lismore Workers 26 13. Pottsville 25 14. Marist Brothers 19