Ballina Bears in the box seat
RAIN stifled Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket again on Saturday with only three of the seven matches getting under way.
The battle for top spot between Cudgen and Ballina Bears hangs in the balance after Cudgen’s tail-enders posted a 60-run 10th-wicket stand to give themselves something to defend.
Cudgen’s top-order batting failed with Bears captain Sam Adams (4-21) and Ben Collins (3-30) the destroyers as they limped to 9-44.
Michael Anderson (37) and Terry Wilson (25) were forced to pick up the slack with the second highest final-wicket partnership of the season.
As a last resort, Adams threw the ball to part-time off-spinner Ben Riley, who trapped Anderson in front, first ball, to end the innings.
Bears made a shaky start in reply. Lee Pittavino (7) didn’t last long as James Julius got the early breakthrough before Anderson had Aaron Jeal (6) caught.
But the departing Andrew Gordon added some stability to the visitors’ innings, steadying the ship with 37 runs as wickets continued to fall around him.
Joshua Callegari (2-10) removed Adams (6) and Nathan Anson (10) cheaply to have Ballina 4-75 at the end of the first day.
With a five-point lead at the top of the table, Bears need to take only first innings points to lock up the minor premiership and Adams was blunt when asked his strategy for the second day of the match.
“We bat and bat and bat,” Adams said.
“We don’t need to push anything; we will just give the blokes who haven’t had much time at the crease a good hit-out.”
The second match to get under way was between Brunswick-Byron and Lismore Workers.
Brunswick-Byron captain Reid Campbell sent Workers in on his home pitch and the visitors obliged by batting steadily all day to rack up 144.
No 3 Ken Clark top-scored with 37 – his best dig since being called into the top grade – and had good support in the top order from Jake Turcato (25), Jeremy Cowin (27) and the unbeaten Troy Harris (35).
With the game getting away at 3-97 and unable to call on injured strike bowlers Dave Thompson and Tom Barry, Campbell threw the ball to his opening batsman, Adam Gadowski.
Gadowski hadn’t bowled all season but ripped through Workers’ middle order to land career best figures of 6-32 of 18.4 overs.
Campbell had no real explanation for the master stroke.
“It was just a hunch,” he said.
“We tried everything else so I thought I’d give him a go and he did more than I could have asked for.”
Gadowski got rid of Cowin and then took the final five wickets.
Finally, Lennox Head posted a solid total of 177 against Terranora Lakes.
Terranora blazed its way to 0-35 off just five overs in reply, with Grant Thompson getting to 29 in a hurry.