Edge of the abyss
IF it were not for a severe attack of butterfingers, Park Beach Bowling Club Colts might be sitting back to savour the near-implosion of the Diggers Ex-Services' innings at Brelsford Park on Saturday.
Instead, a nervous seven days of waiting lies ahead, wondering if their (and the competition's) best batsman can pull them back from the edge of the abyss.
Colts had Diggers feeling vulnerable on 5-80 by the drinks break, but by the time tea arrived, a spate of dropped catches had allowed their rivals to escape the trap and eventually post a final total of 164.
"Hopefully, that's our last bad day for the season," colts opener Matt Rose said.
"It was our worst-ever catching effort with eight put down in that session alone and we should be chasing 80 ? maybe, no more than a hundred, if we'd only spilled four or so.
"We were all thinking at lunch we should call it quits and head to the pub."
The lapses in concentration ? Rose believes as many as 17 chances were botched ? allowed Diggers' middle order and tail to launch a rescue mission.
But to be honest, Colts didn't quite seize the advantage handed to them, tumbling to 5-39 by the close of play.
"We let it get away," Rose admitted.
"The wicket flattened out during the afternoon and we had the better of conditions when we went in but couldn't make up for our fielding lapses with the bat."
Rose agrees his side is 'only an outside chance' of getting the runs required to force Diggers into some soul-searching decisions at the latter end of next Saturday afternoon.
"Craig Howarth is still to bat and that must give us some hope," he said.
"Matt Francis is dangerous on his day and Sam Hardes has a thing about Diggers after getting a half century against them last year.
"If Craig can do his thing and the others chip in with a decent contribution in the partnerships, we're still a chance of turning the ship around."