Gill smashes Clarence
By MITCHELL DALE
SAWTELL'S big-hitting skipper Todd Gill broke his bat and the hearts of Clarence River at International Stadium on Sunday, slamming a rapid-fire 80 to guide Coffs Harbour to it's third straight inter-district competition victory.
Coffs Harbour's bowlers made light work of Clarence River's batting line-up, containing the visitors to 9-162 in 50 overs with Diggers' Brad Guthrie (4-25 from 10 overs) the chief destroyer.
Then it was the batsmen's turn to shine, with Gill leading the way.
Coffs Harbour had few difficulties with the bat, sealing the win inside 34 overs with four wickets to spare, proving correct captain Andrew Mainey's pre-match assessment that Clarence lacked bowling firepower.
"Their (opening bowlers) were decent but when they finished the spinners came on, which was probably the biggest mistake of their lives with 'Gilly' out there," Mainey said.
"By the time the pace bowlers came back on, all their heads were down and they knew they were in big trouble."
With Gill and Sawtell team-mate Jason Hughes (29) in control, Coffs cruised to 3-143 before Gill's dismissal triggered a mini-collapse of 3-15.
It was left to Mainey to deliver the knock-out blow, with the skipper blasting a six over mid-wicket that eventually came back to earth in the International Stadium car park.
While Gill claimed man-of-the-match honours, Mainey said his bowlers set up the victory on what he described as a batsman's paradise.
"The bowlers went very well, especially considering it was on the F3 freeway," he said.
"The boys kept it very tight and that built pressure.
"Once they (Clarence River) realised they needed to get on with the job, they played some silly shots and things went our way.
"Then we annihilated them with the bat, I think a few of the boys were a bit thirsty and wanted to get it over and done with quickly."
Gill slammed six sixes and five fours in his knock and later agreed with Mainey in saying the Grafton bowlers were not overly threatening.
"There wasn't too much not to like about it (Clarence River's bowling attack)," Gill said.
Gill had to play most of his innings with a borrowed bat after ending the life of his own blade early in his knock.
"My bat was cracked before (the final) but I just thought I would go out there and see how it went," he said.
"I tried to put one over cover when I was on about 10 and it just cracked up the guts."
It was celebrations all-round for Coffs Harbour, whose second XI destroyed the Nambucca-Bellingen side by eight wickets at Fitzroy Oval.
Nambucca started well, moving to 1-60 before being bowled out for just 73 with Diggers pair Troy Herbert (5-25 from 10) and Leigh Mauger (4-13 from six) doing the damage.
Alex Pearson and Troy Britnell then steered the home side to an easy win, with the match completed inside 40 overs.