Only rain stood in their way?
Casino can consider themselves extremely unlucky to have failed to progress to the next round of the SCG Country Cup after rain and last years standing came to the Tweeds rescue on Sunday at Queen Elizabeth Park.
Casino, who play together every weekend as the Cavaliers in the Hooker League, restricted Tweed to 152 off 38 overs and were 2 for 49 in response when rain intervened and the game was washed out. Tweed now progress due to better results last year.
After easily accounting for the premiers in the local league last round, people were starting to think that Casino could go all the way in the state-wide competition. But it wasnt to be, which is a shame, because it could have been an excellent format to showcase the talents of Sam Irvine, Scott Sheppard and Myles McDowell.
A turning point?
After rain washed out pitches last weekend, all matches in the third round of the Hooker League will now be played as one day matches this Saturday. Probably the most interesting of these encounters will be between Norths Goonellabah RSL and Eastern Districts at Nielson Park. The Hawks finished at the bottom of the competition last year after weather and vandalism conspired to deny them at least two possible victories. The year before they made the finals. This year the Hawks have started strongly, defeating Alstonville and mid-table battlers Ballina Bears, as they respond well to the humorous and astute captaincy of Nathan Bonamy. However, their return to the winners circle will be tested when they take on the minor premiers on their home ground. Easts, after a stumbling start against Ballina, have surged back into contention, outrighting Workers Club last round. The return of Paul Simes to their top order has had a lot to do with their resurgence as the technically correct opener has started to realise some of the power latent in his stroke play. Meanwhile, the new ball partnership of Jake McKinnon and Ian Gregory has been very successful.
Early season matches in our variable weather conditions are vital to team standings come the end of the season and this game could be a turning point for both sides.
Oakes perfect for one dayer
Ballina Bears and Souths will both be happy to get a chance to bat on something hard and flat after both teams suffered batting collapses on dubious surfaces last round. Oakes Oval is an absolute belter at the moment and as both teams enjoy hitting through the line and over the in-field this match should provide an excellent spectacle. Souths, the perennial champions, have a miserly attack and quality batting, particularly in the form of Paul McLean, and this could prove the difference. However, Bears captain Andrew Gordon enjoys batting at Oakes and put together a couple of match winning performances in the one dayers last year. Souths would have to go in favourites but the Bears are a younger and more energetic fielding team and could easily turn the tables, granted they can keep their sundries down.
Cavaliers on the charge
Marist Brothers will need to start in top gear to restrict the might of the short changed Cavaliers at Nesbitt Park. After being dudded in the SCG Country Cup the men from Casino will be fired up and Brothers will need to steel themselves against the onslaught. Wade Sweeney is bowling quickly and with late swing, humbling the premiers last round, while Slammin Sam Irvine has been in irresistible form with the bat. Furthermore, Casino are a young and enthusiastic fielding unit and they back up their bowling with great vigour. On the other side of the ledger Marist Brothers have been playing a well considered brand of cricket and their top order of Luke Collings, Luke Cleaver, Chris Ball and Pat Foran are all in good touch. However, they are missing sting in the bowling department, and although Dominic Marshs arm balls and Dean Collings off spinners can prove hard to get away, they will need to get wickets to contain the Cavaliers.
The Bar will be avenged
Last year the premiers only lost to one team, Alstonville. Last round they went belly up against Casino. This Saturday they will play Alstonville on Kingsford Smith Park. Is it possible that the mighty Bar could fall prey to the bottom of the competition men from Alstonville? I took the frog I keep in box to divine these matters out and tickled its belly. It croaked. Well, much as Alstonvilles attack of Terry Murphy, Josh Murphy and Scott Petty is good, their batting isnt up to speed in this division. Tintenbar at a canter.
Lennox to open its account?
Although neither side has managed a victory this year Lennox Head are very ably lead by Paul Everingham, and they went painfully close to beating Marist Brothers last round. Everingham has a highly refined cricket brain and during the Marist match, on two occasions, the tactician moved fieldsmen into a position to accept a catch one ball before the catch came. To develop that level of cricket comprehension you need to be steeped in cricket from the moment you can walk and thats what you have in Everingham. The other major weapon that Lennox have is outstanding all rounder Ramesh Kassim, who bowls a bright speed and good line, stump to stump.
Workers, however, are coming off a drubbing at the hands of Easts. They need their top order to knuckle down. They are rich with all-rounders but if their opponents get into their middle order while the ball is still moving they get cut to pieces. Workers opening attack is good but inexperienced and they tend to over pitch in the hope of getting wickets rather than making their opponents earn every run.
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