Digging in for battle

By GREG WHITE

AFTER a sluggish start to the season, the batsmen of Diggers Ex-Services came good with a vengeance on Saturday but delivered their biggest shock to opponents Dorrigo in the last half hour of the day.

Diggers posted 291, including a grafting century to teenager James Bellamy and an authoritive 80 to opening partner Roger Oates.

But it was the damage done to the Buzzards in the first minute of their turn at the crease that proved those who've written off the 2006-07 runners-up may have been a little premature.

Skipper Troy Herbert sent opener Stuart Moore back to the pavilion following his first delivery and within minutes had Toby Francis pounding a similar path.

Mentally, it must have been devastating to the competition newcomers who'd earlier tried everything to trip up Diggers as they methodically built a quality innings.

After losing big-hitting Oates when the score reached 138 and the incoming Colin Coombes one run later, Diggers continued their progress toward a big total with Bellamy finding the boundary ropes ten times in his 111 with the bat.

When the youngster departed on 5-261 the damage had already been done and despite Mick Gilroy cleaning up the tail fairly quickly, any chance of a quick revival was washed away once Herbert had shaken up the top order.

At least Dorrigo won't feel alone as they spend the time until the weekend pondering their next move, as fellow 2007-08 debutantes Northern Districts are also under some pressure in a game they were expected to win easily.

The Rebels rolled Park Beach Bowling Club Colts for 137 with spinner Andrew 'Kiwi' Murray having a field day against his former club with figures of 3-6.

But in reply, Trent Fuller has captured two quick wickets to have the visitors on 4-56 and with some thinking to do in the days ahead.

Meanwhile, Coffs Hotel Tigers have turned up the heat in their clash with Sawtell at Brelsford Park after their own run chase was down on previous weeks.

With captain Daryl Parmenter on North Coast rep duties, coach Brad Greenshields stepped into the breach by contributing 22 runs to the innings total of 145, with Jono Barrington also handing in a quick 28.

"First half of the afternoon was bad but the later part was better," Greenshields said after his squad had restricted the premiers to 5-105 at stumps.

"I believe Sawtell are still in a better position than we are, but you never know, things can change."

The 'new chums' in each side were prominent with the ball as Dave Eddy took three wickets for Tigers while Blair Craddock was the main destroyer for Sawtell with impressive figures of 5-52.



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