Big tests against front-runners

MARIST Brothers and Alstonville face season-defining games today against Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket competition front-runners Ballina Bears and Casino Cavaliers.

With the finals approaching, Marist Brothers lead Alstonville in the race for fourth by only a point, but play league leaders Ballina.

Captain Craig Ferguson believes that last week’s impressive win over Cudgen at Kings-cliff can create positive momentum.

Young stars Ben Cooper and Stuart Rose continue to excel while the captain himself has been a model of consistency.

But Brothers are not thinking finals just yet.

“We are not looking too far forward,” Ferguson said.

“We need to make sure our good form continues by doing the little things right.”

They are also not fazed by playing the in-form Bears.

“We have a good history in one-dayers against Ballina, so I think we have a good shot of beating them this time,” Ferguson said.

Alstonville has an uphill battle to qualify for the finals, facing the top three teams in the next few weeks.

Captain Scott Petty concedes that virtually every game now is a must-win, starting with the undefeated Cavaliers at Casino.

One of the best performed bowling teams in the competition, Petty is hoping the previous game against Pottsville provided a good hit-out for the batsmen.

“Greg Potter scored 72 and Regan Piper got 41 last week, but Casino is a much sterner test,” Petty said.

“Over the past two years, we have had some close games with Casino.

“We need one person to stand up with the bat and have others chip in. We will look to set a competitive target and I’m confident our attack can bowl Casino out.”

Weather can still play a large part in the make-up of the finals. The top three, Ballina, Casino and Cudgen, are separated by only three points.

Tintenbar-East Ballina, in fifth place, will need to rely on other favourable results, but could be a fast finisher.

In other games:

Workers are away to Terranora Lakes.

Cudgen travel to struggling Pottsville.

Tintenbar-East Ballina need to beat Murwillumbah at Kingsford Smith Park to keep alive their finals hopes.

Lennox Head play South Tweed Colts away.

Southern Districts head north to play Brunswick-Byron.

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