Cavaliers show early promise
In an intense and topsy turvy weekend of cricket Casino Cavaliers put up their hand as real premiership contenders while last years grand finalists Souths and Tintenbar East Ballina both faltered. Easts also got their season back on track in no time, taking first innings over Workers on Saturday in under two hours and then capturing a bonus point win over Ballina Bears on a weather affected pitch at Fripp Oval on Sunday.
Cavaliers watch this space
Casino, under the inspirational leadership of Mal Hancock, bowled a terrific line against Tintenbar East Ballina, skittling the premiers for 103 on the tarmac at Kingsford Smith Park. Wade Sweeney bowled 20 overs unchanged, taking 6 for 49 as he cut and swung the ball late to humble one of the competitions best top orders. The accurate and skillful bowling performance has set Casino up for a relatively easy victory this Saturday. The Cavaliers then followed this up with a stunning display of batting against Workers, falling only one ball short of picking up the bonus point in their one day night match at Oakes Oval. Set a sizable 180 for victory, Slammin Sam Irvine and opening revelation Scott Sheppard put on a century first innings stand as they tore Workers apart. Irvine is simply a class above and in a just world he would be asked to bat with a stump in future to equal up the odds. He was eventually run out in the seventies, after a chanceless match winning innings.
Brothers batsmen bountiful
Brothers top three Chris Ball, Luke Cleaver and Luke Collings enjoyed the going on Oakes Oval over the weekend with each of the stroke players scoring a half century on what is now an absolute road. Ball (66) and Cleaver (64) put on a century stand for the Brethren on Saturday in a rain interrupted game against Lennox, which should at least assure them a draw, while on Sunday Luke Collings, who looks very balanced at the crease this year, scored 80 not out against Souths to capture a bonus point win against the depleted green and gold. Missing top batsmen Paul McLean and Michael Nind, young Aaron Mocatta (30) top scored for Souths as they put on 136, but it was never going to be enough on that flat track. Off spinner Dean Collings bowled well again, picking up 2 for 18 as the Brethren shared out the wickets.
Easts strike back
Easts and their captain Bruce Jobson used the weekend to turn their season around, humbling Workers on Nielson Park on Saturday then doing likewise to the Ballina Bears on Sunday.
Winning the toss on both occasions the Waratahs sent their opponents in on water affected tracks, giving their potent attack a chance to thrive. On Saturday only the opening bowlers, Ian Gregory (5 for 30) and Jake McKinnon (5 for 32) were required, as Workers were sent packing for a mere 62 runs. Easts were already 2 for 88 at stumps thanks to some very powerful shot making from Paul Simes. The Waratahs then followed this up with a dominant display against Ballina Bears, rolling the seasiders for 99 off 33 in their one day match at Fripp Oval. Thanks to some lusty hitting by Jobson (37 n.o) Easts hauled in the runs in quick time to capture the bonus point.
The Bar back up with a vengeance
After being tumbled out for 103 on Saturday by Casino, The Bar steamrolled Lennox Head on Sunday. The Crawfords, Brett and Ben, though not related genetically, bowl the same big blustering high impact style and both picked up three wickets as they scythed through the Pirates, who managed a meagre 74. Brett sealed the deal with his usual belligerent batting as he combined with Phil Dalli to reel in most of the total.
Alstonville hold on
Alstonville bowled a good line and length over the weekend to dismiss Souths for 74 on Saturday, only to be 4 for 12 at stumps. On Sunday they knocked off the Hawks for 49 but lost seven wickets before passing the score. Terry Murphy and spinner Steve Robb were the pick of the attack on both days, while Daniel Kenyon caused havoc in Souths middle order.
Struggling for numbers
Although Norths are regularly forfeiting in reserve and second grade, their combined effort with Goonellabah RSL in the Hooker League still has legs. Spinners Steve Lockhart (2 for 13) and Brad Walker (2 for 3) took some late wickets at Fripp Oval on Saturday as the Bears stumbled to 6 for 83. With the fiery Shane Staples still at the wicket all is not lost for the Bears, but the Hawks must be confident of taking the points next weekend.