A final round dream
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
A BOXING promoter couldn't have done a better job with the final round fixture for Coffs Harbour Cricket.
The summer may have been marred by persistent washouts but the final two weeks of the season are about to serve up two vital clashes with every position in the top four up for grabs.
At Richardson Park, reigning premiers Sawtell find themselves locked in a battle for the minor premiership with Northern Districts while both Dorrigo and the Coffs Hotel Tigers need a win to secure a berth in the final four when they go face to face at Brelsford Park.
Coffs City Colts appear out of contention to scrape their way into the four but still can if they can grab an outright victory over Diggers Ex-Services.
Most eyes will be on the top of the table clash as finishing on top of the ladder could prove more valuable this season than any other.
With the rain that the Coffs Coast has been experiencing expected to last until the end of March, being the highest ranked team in any final becomes ultra important in case of a washed out match.
The wicket at Richardson Park is famous for being a highway that favours the batsmen and both teams have run machines in their line-up to take advantage of the friendly conditions.
Northern Districts captain Craig Haworth had been plundering attacks all summer until last week's rare failure and he'll be keen to bounce back in the final round.
But in team sports, a man is not an island and he'll be looking for support from the likes of keeper-batsman Alex Byrne and NSW Country Colts representative Joe Mennie.
Sawtell have their fair share of batsman that can keep the scoreboard ticking over as well.
Ben Davis has been making plenty of runs on both sides of the Tasman Sea recently while Brad Lewis, Jeff Butterworth and Chris Neal have been responsible for quick runs late in the day.
Last time these two met it was a victory to Sawtell but it's a toss of the coin to see who will prevail in this all important encounter.
Semi-finals have come a fortnight early for the Tigers and Dorrigo as a win means advancing while a loss spells curtains for 2007-08.
A look at each team's statistics shows that both rely heavily on two men when it comes time to amass a competitive total.
The bulk of Dorrigo's runs this summer have come from captain Justin Gilbert and Adam Turner while the Tigers are guilty of the same crime with Daryl Parmenter and Dave Eddy being reponsible for most of the Tigers totals.
Whichever group can get a contribution from the most players will be playing in the semis.
These clubs have never faced each other before as last time they were drawn to play each other, the match was washed out without a single delivery being bowled.
Diggers appear to be the team with the least pressure on it bu tthey will be haunted by their loss to the Coffs City Colts prior to Christmas the only victory that the Colts have claimed all summer.
Whatever the results of this round's matches, a clearer picture as to how the semi-finals will transpire.