Coffs are champions again
COFFS Harbour have placed themselves back at the top of the North Coast cricketing tree after securing both the first and second grade inter-district titles on Sunday.
It wasn't all plain sailing for the Coffs Harbour teams though, particularly the first XI which found their innings floundering early with the score at 6-68.
All-rounders Dave Eddy and Joe Mennie then joined forces to steady the ship with a 70-run stand.
Coffs Harbour were dismissed for only 153 and had committed the cardinal sin of not batting out their overs in fact they were dismissed with 57 balls still available from their allotted 50 overs.
"I think our blokes just went too hard, too early," Coffs Harbour captain Craig Haworth said of the team's batting display.
"They never even got their eye in before they started playing across the line, basically with cut shots and hook shots."
Haworth didn't have to be Einstein to work out that a positive start with the ball was required if his team were any chance of defending the small total and the team received just what they wished for.
Both openers were sent back to the sheds for ducks and the run chase was already stuttering early with the Clarence River score showing 2-0.
"When they went out there, they batted like us," a relieved Haworth said.
"It was a deck that no-one was used to because it had real tennis ball bounce. If you got a half volley, you could hit it but if it was just short of a length then it was hard.
"So our plan of attack was to bowl just short of a length and basically the same result happened."
After the positive start, Coffs Harbour's bowlers continued to apply the pressure, in particular left-arm spinner Andrew Murray who tied up one end with figures of 3 for 17 of 10 overs.
Mennie continued his strong performance in the match at the other end to finish with 3 for 22 off his 10.
When Clarence River had collapsed to 9-98, the Grafton team's hopes sagged lower than Dolly Parton without a bra.
There was a final fling when tailender Michael Summers scored fast runs with some lusty hitting but Coffs Harbour did enough to claim victory by 14 runs.
"Grafton has got good set of young kids but I think ours are a little bit better," Haworth said of the reason behind the local competition's strength.
"That's how it stands at the moment, we're going really well and the kids are improving."
PLAYING at Grafton's Ellem Oval, Coffs Harbour's second XI were on the receiving end of some ill discipline from the Clarence River bowling attack and took full advantage.
Batting first, Coffs Harbour set a challenging target of 198, a score which included 53 sundries roughly made up of a staggering 30 wides and 20 no balls.
In reply the match was tipped slightly in Coffs Harbour's favour at the final drinks break when Clarence River had progressed to 5-112 and required a shade under six runs an over.
When leg spinner Harinder Husna claimed a caught and bowled imediately after the resumption, Coffs Harbour were in the driver's seat and rammed home the advantage to dismiss the Grafton team for 132.