Young Sam rescues Brothers
THE wickets tumbled around him and his Marist Brothers side looked set to lose heavily against last summer's one-day and two-day Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket finalists Cudgen.
But Brothers' young gun Sam Reading displayed composure beyond his years with the bat to ensure his side escaped with a narrow 12-run in the one-day match against their coastal opponents at Nielson Park, East Lismore.
Cudgen had every reason to feel confident of snaring a victory against their second-placed opponent when they had the hosts reeling at 4-20.
But that was when NSW Under-19 wicketkeeper-batsman and former Murwillumbah player Reading strode to the crease and crafted a match-winning 62 runs.
Brothers then went on to blast out Cudgen for 112 with new recruit and veteran bowling spearhead Paul Milgate taking 3-10 from eight overs.
Milgate, 48, had nothing but praise for young pup Reading's innings.
"He kept out the good balls and played his shots very positively," Milgate said.
"Michael Anderson bowled really well for Cudgen but Sam didn't havea problem.
"He has a lot of ability."
The first-placed Ballina Bears suffered a scare against sixth-placed Pottsville, winning by three wickets at Seabreeze Oval, Pottsville.
Janith De Silva starred for the visitors, taking 3-26 from his eight overs of off-spin before hitting 43 runs.
"He bowled with plenty of air and got two stumpings because their batsmen were trying to get down the track to the pitch of the ball," Bears captain Sam Adams said.
"Janith has definitely been consistent for us - he's scored a hundred for us this season and got runs again in this game.
"We were a bit slow after the Christmas break but we got away with a win and now we'll go back and work hard."
Byron Bay's strong form this season continued with a convincing six-wicket away win over Alstonville at Hill Park Oval, Wollongbar.
The victory put them into third place on the one-day ladder.
Byron Bay captain David Thompson took 3-24 from eight overs to restrict the hosts to 8-160 from their 40 overs.
The Bay reached the target comfortably with 22 balls remaining.
"Dave's had some back problems in recent seasons but he's so solid with the ball," Byron Bay vice-captain Reid Campbell said.
"He always bowls great line and length and puts the ball on the off stump."
And the Casino Cavaliers bowled well against Terranora Lakes at Bilambil, winning by 63 runs.
Michael Wood (3-4 from 4.2 overs) and Al Nowlan (3-30 from eight overs) led the charge.
But Wood said there was still room for improvement.
"If we want to defend our title we need to use the new ball better and bowl fewer wides," he said.
"Al's had a few niggling injuries but he was back to his best in this game and he's as tough as nails."
The Tintenbar-East Ballina v Workers Goonellabah fixture at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina, was abandoned due to overnight rain.