All out for 15 shocks district cricket
DISTRICT cricket is in shock after Diggers Ex-Services bowed out of the first-grade premiership chase yesterday after returning one of the lowest innings totals since records began.
Playing the elimination semi-final against Park Beach Bowling Club Colts at Coffs Coast Sports and Leisure Park, Diggers already knew they were in dire straights when the first day of play ended late on Saturday.
Chasing a reasonable target of 137 to hit the lead, their innings crashed and burned with five wickets down for two runs scored.
Sunday went even worse with just 13 more runs added to the total before the team was dismissed for a miserable 15 runs.
It surpasses the club's worst first-grade return of 31 but the all-time record remains safely in the hands of the former Orara club.
Facing the home side at Jetty Oval on March 7, 1936, Orara were given all out on that occasion - for eight runs.
Colts' president Neil Coogan, who batted in his team's middle order, said for much of Saturday it was his team who were having gloomy thoughts.
“At one stage we were five wickets down for something like 50 and I'm stunned how things ended up,” he said.
“Despite the rain the wicket was fair and we were a little disappointed we only got to 136, but in this game, you never know how things can turn around your way.”
Diggers' skipper Troy Herbert said his troops were fairly confident of dragging in the targeted runs without being cocky.
“Our blokes worked fantastic in the field to restrict Colts and I'm at a loss to explain what went wrong,” he said.
Coogan put most of the credit in the hands of front-line bowlers, Daryl Parmenter and Matt Francis.
“We didn't drop a chance and every catch was taken behind point, which shows the bowling accuracy was spot on with line and length,” he said.
“This gives us seven wins on the trot and puts us one step closer to a dream ending to the season. We have momentum going our way and the culture in the club is fantastic.”
In the major semi-final at Richardson Park, Dorrigo won the toss and rain clouds yesterday afternoon were threatening to make it difficult for minor premiers Sawtell to find a saloon passage to the season decider.
Dorrigo ended Saturday's dig on 171 and the Blue Caps found early scoring opportunities difficult to come by when their run chase began.
When the club resumed yesterday morning at 2-60, club boss Matt Bailey was hoping his turn to bat would take some time to arrive.
“It's got very slow because of the rain and I think we're in for a tricky afternoon,” he predicted.
“But we're still right in this providing the batsmen are careful and don't try anything silly.”
Late in the day, secretary Wayne Smith admitted he was feeling edgy about the way the sky was darkening.
“The boys will stay as long as they have to but maybe winning that toss will be very important to Dorrigo,” he said.
With Jeff Butterworth and wicketkeeper Stuart Wearne grimly occupying the crease, Sawtell had reached 6-83 by late Sunday afternoon.
After captain Brad Lewis dropped himself down the batting order and with Matt Andrews and Blair Craddock still to come, the premiers remained dangerous and defiant.