A file photo of Brett Crawford, who was in superb form with the bat for North Coast at the weekend.
A file photo of Brett Crawford, who was in superb form with the bat for North Coast at the weekend. David Nielsen

Crawford in the mix

TINTENBAR-East Ballina’s smashing right-hand batsman Brett Crawford already knows it won’t be third time lucky when NSW Country selectors name their side for the national cricket titles today.

But he’s hoping a fourth opportunity won’t go astray after having experienced the trifecta of disappointments.

Returning home early from the NSW Country championships on the Central Coast yesterday afternoon with coach Graham Rose, the North Coast captain was sharing the pain of missing a place in the championship semi-finals.

But it wasn’t his form with the bat that let the side down with unbeaten innings of 102 and 54 and another quick-fire 47 off 42 balls in preliminary games against Southern, Central North and Riverina.

Unfortunately, his unbeaten innings were not enough to stave off defeat by Southern and Central North but his lightning innings on Saturday triggered a revival that saw North Coast reach 8-195 in reply to Riverina’s 194 and earmarked Crawford, Casino opening bat Sam Irvine and Taree opening bowler Corey Shield for possible country selection.

“The three of them have every reason to be a good chance of being picked,” Rose confided.

“Brett in particular should be reasonably confident.

“It wasn’t their form that let us down. Our fielding and catching was nothing short of disastrous.”

But Crawford has felt the twang of disappointment before, particularly three years ago when knocks of two centuries and another 60 saw him overlooked because selectors doubted his bulky ability to get through two weeks of solid cricket.

For the last two years he has suffered the same disappointment, and yesterday he wasn’t owning up to any over-confidence of making a breakthrough, despite shedding 15kg.

“We’ll see what happens later tomorrow,” he said.

In their win against Riverina Irvine slammed an unbeaten 100, scored an impressive 45 against Southern on Friday and yesterday was 39 when forced to retire hurt against Central North.

Shield at one stage in the Riverina game had figures of 5-18, but finished with 5-45 after having three catches dropped off his bowling, and in another backed up figures of 3-35 off a mammoth 18 overs with an unbeaten 41 at the crease.



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