Ballina bowler Nathan Anson snares seven wickets
Defending a modest 152 on a ground synonymous for high scores, the Bears managed to restrict Cudgen to 140 and record their third straight win.
With the hosts resuming at 5-93, Bears’ captain Shane Jacobs and Anson needed 11 overs each to stop the Cudgen tail.
Jacobs tied them up at one end and Anson cleaned them out at the other.
“Nathan certainly did the job, he took all five wickets for us (on Saturday),” Jacobs said.
Anson finished with 7-43 after top scoring with 48 last week, prompting big wraps from his captain.
“He’s one of the best players in the competition,” Jacobs said.
“He is dedicated to his cricket. He trains hard and gets results because he puts in the work.
“He’s a big key for us trying to do something with this competition.”
The win gives the Bears a huge shot of confidence after they were seemingly just hanging on for most of the match.
“We were against the odds from the start so it was a good, character-building win,” Jacobs said.
“We were 4-10 the week before and wouldn’t have been given much hope.
“We did well to scrape out 150 and knew if we bowled well we were in with a chance.
“(With Cudgen) at 5-93, we were probably still the underdogs ... they only needed another 60 runs.
“It’s just part of the mental ability you need to hang in there and things can go your way.
“I think we will look back on it at the end of the season as a pivotal match.”
The win sparked jubilant scenes in the middle of the field.
“It was a great win. There was a lot of emotion at the end when we won,” Jacobs said.
“It got pretty tense for a while. You could tell their batters were a bit nervous ... everyone was on edge because it was a big game.”
After securing comfortable wins in the first two rounds, Jacobs said the match-up with Cudgen was a gauge for the Bears.
“It was our first real test...that’s how we took it,” he said
“I think we’ll both be pushing for a semi spot. We wanted to prove to ourselves we could match them and not just give up and that’s the attitude we took into the game.”
The win moves Ballina to the top of the table, but with Casino, Souths and Tintenbar to come before Christmas, there is plenty to do to stay there.
Casino suffered a shock, 29-run loss to Terranora Lakes at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino.
After two outright wins in the opening rounds, Casino were bowled out for 185 chasing 214.
Sam Irvine was caught and bowled on 49 while Scott Shephard was the best of the bowlers with 3-61
Murwillumbah scored a four-wicket win over Pottsville at Seabreeze Oval, Pottsville.
Needing 99 for the win, Murwillumbah declared at 6-214.
Tintenbar-East Ballina captain Brett Crawford steered his side to a thrilling one-wicket victory over Lennox Head at Kingsford Smith South, Ballina.
Chasing 142, the hosts were reduced to 9-121 before Crawford combined with Kim Tyson for a 23-run 10th wicket partnership, to reach 9-144 and secure first innings points.
Crawford’s unbeaten 31 added to his impressive 5-32 with the ball last week.
Lennox’s Rameesh Kassim took 3-24.
Lismore Workers fell four runs short in their chase against South Tweed Colts at Nielson Park, East Lismore.
Needing 137 for victory, Workers were bowled out for 133 with Jeremy Cowin top scoring (31).
Southern Districts got their season back on track with a 59-run win over Byron-Brunswick at Thompson Oval, Brunswick Heads.
Defending 173, Souths’ Nathan Rose took 5-16 and Matt Parish snared 3-34 to stop Byron for 114 and keep the composite team winless.
Alstonville managed a five-wicket win over Marist Brothers at Heaps Oval, Lismore.
Chasing 220, Alstonville reached 5-224.