By GREG WHITE
HOW different the 2007-08 summer would have been for Northern Districts' finger spinner Andrew 'Kiwi' Murray if a full team had turned out for Coffs Harbour Colts in the opening match of the season.
Instead of joining his Rebel team mates in the grand final, workhorse Murray might have been soothing the injured pride that comes with accepting the wooden spoon.
"Colts are great blokes but I said at the start if everybody wasn't fair dinkum, I was out of there," he said.
"But when two blokes didn't show for the first match, I rang 'Flea' (Craig Haworth) and accepted his offer to make the switch.
"The missus was happy as I wasn't coming home whingeing after another loss and after a season with all those young blokes, I'm full of enthusiasm and feel like I'm 18 again."
In the weekend's major semi final against Sawtell, Murray came on in the sixth over and bowled continuously for the next 31 straight.
He closed the innings three deliveries into the last over by taking the wicket of Nathan O'Connor with a leg before decision.
But it was the dismissal of old rival Chris Neal four runs shy of a half century starting Sawtell's downward spiral that brought the greatest pleasure.
"Chris is a danger man and seeing his back was a relief," he said.
"He was dropped early, actually seven catches were dropped off my bowling and I was responsible for two of them.
"Believe me there were some four-letter-words in the air when it happened."
Murray is tipping next weekend may be the last we see of the triple-premiers this summer.
"I have a feeling Diggers may be ready to turn around the hoodoo of the last few seasons," he said.