Good, bad news for Bears
AN unexpectedly easy outright win over Alstonville on Saturday has put defending premiers Ballina Bears in top spot going into the final two rounds of Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket.
Bears (8-93 declared and 4-92) defeated Alstonville (85 and 95) at Hill Park Oval, Wollongbar, and in doing so ended the home team’s chances of making the semi-finals.
The good news for Bears was the return of prolific all-rounder Nathan Anson for his first game since before Christmas, although he scored only 0 and 4.
The bad news is the Bears face second-placed Cudgen and third-placed Casino Cavaliers in the final two rounds.
In a game dominated by the bowlers, Peter Weingarth (35) played a lone hand in the Alstonville second innings.
At Casino, Cudgen (7-46) hung on for a draw against the Cavaliers (126) in a match that like most of the others was affected by loss of playing time to rain on the first day.
Southern Districts (8-154 declared) stormed to within four points of the top four to keep the pressure on Lismore rivals Marist Brothers with an outright win over whipping boys Pottsville (54 and 69).
Brothers (171) continued to impress with a win in limited time over South Tweed Colts (162) at Heaps Oval, Lismore.
Paceman Steve Prosser led the way with 5-40, including the wickets of four of the top seven in the South Tweed batting line-up.
And at Murwillumbah, Matt Irwin scored his first Hooker League century (115 not out) as Brunswick-Byron (7-239 declared) secured their third win of the season, accounting for Murwillumbah (119 and 101) outright at Rabjones Oval.
In one of the two games that were not started on the first day and played as one-dayers on Saturday, Lismore Workers (5-126) picked up only their second win of the season against Lennox Head (123).
Rameesh Kassim (34) and Jeewan De Silva (31) scored the bulk of the runs for Lennox Head, then veteran Ken Clark (32) and Jeremy Cowin (34) shared a third-wicket stand of 58 to help secure the points for the visitors.
In the other, Tintenbar-East Ballina (4-94) kept their slim finals hopes alive by breezing past Terranora Lakes (86) at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina. Mick Gabriel top-scored for the ’Bar with 32.
Competition points: Ballina Bears 78, Cudgen 73, Casino Cavaliers 68, Marist Brothers 62, Southern Districts 58, Tintenbar-East Ballina 53, Alstonville 48, South Tweed Colts 47, Terranora Lakes 46, Lennox Head 37, Brunswick-Byron 33, Lismore Workers 28, Murwillumbah 14, Pottsville 7.