Bowlers save Sawtell
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
AFTER a few celebratory drinks last night you can be sure that Sawtell captain Todd Gill slept like a baby.
At the end of the first day of the weekend's major semi-final, Sawtell were dismissed for only 80 but had fought back by stumps to have Nana Glen reeling at 9-70 to turn the result of the match into a toss of the coin job.
Gill was the first to admit that on Saturday night he didn't sleep a wink and it had nothing to do with his usually full social calendar.
"All they needed was 10 runs to go and they got within three so there were a lot of nervous moments there," he said.
Nana Glen came within only a couple of inches of causing the biggest upset of the season on the weekend.
Needing only four runs for victory, tailender Nathan Secomb tried to whip Simon Landrigan over mid-wicket for the winning runs but instead of finding the middle of the bat and becoming a hero, it connected only a couple of inches away on the leading edge and the ball skied towards the safe hands of Gill at mid-off.
The Nana Glen boys were devastated at coming so close to qualifying directly for this year's grand final only to fall so agaonisingly short.
"I couldn't have asked the boys to bowl any better or field any better but our batting has let us down again," Nana Glen skipper Andrew Mainey bemoaned after the match.
"Chasing 80 runs here you'd think a fourth grade team would be able to get that but credit to Sawtell, they bowled really well and runs were hard to get, simple as that."
Played on a Richardson Park wicket that didn't hold a great deal of gremlins other than some softness, Gill was at a loss to explain why the most highly rated batting line-up in the competition fell like the proverbial house of cards.
"It wasn't a normal Richardson Park deck, it was a bit soft but that doesn't explain us only getting 80," he said.
"We were just over anxious I suppose, probably putting too much pressure on themselves would be the best way to put it."
"It was probably just semi-final pressure."
Only Gill himself and Gus Garland managed to get a score over 20, Trent Jones proving his worth to Nana Glen picking up four wickets as Sawtell were dismissed in only 36 overs.
Nana Glen's confidence quickly disappeared when Sawtell quick Ben Andrews ripped through the top order to take the first six wickets with the score only reaching 30.
Andrews finished with an amazing 7-25 off 22 overs while Simon Landrigan collected three scalps of his own including the match-winning wicket.
Andrews has blasted through nearly every batting line-up in front of him this summer and his captain has nearly run out of superlatives he can use to describe his performances this season and in particular, this match.
"He's a freak is probably the only thing I can say about him," Gill said.
"After 10 overs he was just getting quicker and quicker and quicker. No-one could hit him, they were just playing and missing all the time."
Although naturally disappointed with the result, Mainey has taken a lot of confidence from the match and believes that if they get another crack at Sawtell in the grand final then it's going to be on like Donkey Kong.
"There's no doubt they've been the team to beat all year, they've still got plenty of depth but I think we're every bit as good as them," Mainey explained.
"If we can make it to the grand final then I think it will be a big clash for sure.
"Everyone I think will lift that level which we probably really needed to do this weekend but we didn't, so I hope everyone goes home and has a bit of a think about it."