Nowlan comes up trumps for Casino
CASINO Cavaliers pace bowler Al Nowlan defied age and injury to help his side to a thrilling 32-run win over Ballina Bears in the Far North Coast Cricket LJ Hooker League final at Ballina yesterday.
Nowlan is more than 40 years of age and he carried a groin injury into yesterday's clash at Fripp Oval but that did not stop him from throwing his body around like someone half his age.
His enthusiasm was never more apparent than when he took a classic catch at cover which will be remembered by his teammates for years to come.
Ballina batsman Luke Hall smashed a drive towards Nowlan who leapt high to take the catch in his right hand.
It was the penultimate wicket of the afternoon and it sealed the win for the visitors.
It was a fairytale finish for Nowlan who has played in the LJ Hooker League since its inception in 1994-95.
"The ball just happened to stick in my two bowling fingers, just like a twig on a tree," he said.
"We all lifted for this game and words can't describe the feeling.
"I slid while bowling (on Saturday) against Marist Brothers at Oakes Oval so I took a groin injury into this game."
Nowlan gave the injury a good workout, leaping for the catch and also earlier when he bowled key Bears batsman Nathan Anson for 24.
"Nathan played across the line on that one but the boys told me 'that was a cracker of a ball ... this is it'," Nowlan said.
Nowlan finished with 1-35 from eight overs.
His teammate Wade Sweeney showed just as much enthusiasm in the field, coming up with two long distance run-outs courtesy of his razor sharp arm.
Nathanael Scott dared to take him on early in the Bears' innings by going for a third run but Sweeney produced a perfect throw over the bails.
He then ran out Ben Carruthers with a long throw to 'keeper Todd Summers when the hosts were chasing quick runs in the dying overs.
Earlier, Sam Irvine played yet another big innings to finish unbeaten on 53 as his team posted a competitive 4-156 from their 40 overs.
It was Irvine's fifth half century from his last seven innings and he was well assisted by opener Rodney Wells (40).
"Sam wasn't going to lose his wicket today and Wellsy batted with a bit more patience than usual," Nowlan said.
"It was a slow outfield with the rain we had (on the morning of the game) so to score 156 was really worth another 15 or 20 runs."
A shattered Ballina captain Sam Adams poured out his heart and soul to his previously undefeated team for 10 minutes after the game.
"I just told the boys we need to take more responsibility when chasing scores," he said.
"I thought our target was gettable but we got off to a bad start.
"The Cavaliers did the same thing we do and that was bowl tight lines.
"We would have loved to have batted first but we won't blame that ... we should have got the runs."