Outright win as premiers bounce back to their best
By GREG WHITE
SAWTELL learned their lessons from a wishy-washy first day's play to eventually send Bellingen tumbling to an innings defeat at Richardson Park on Saturday.
After resuming on 7-96 and still trailing by 11 runs, the premiers edged ahead to lead by 67 before pointing their rivals back in the direction of the crease.
Batting down the order, new father Kel McMillan contributed a vital 33 after middle order batsman Jeff Butterworth set up the chance of victory with a handy knock of 42.
"Our first day gave us a serious reality check and the improvement in a week was dramatic," captain Chris Neal said.
"We had 10 at the training session on Thursday night and the boys had a run and team talk which turned our fielding right around.
"Some of the catches we took on the last day and the fielding in general, was very sharp."
Especially one by Ben Andrews that left Bellingen opener Chris Moran open-mouthed.
"It was a screamer," Neal said, "and he backed it up with three wickets when he bowled.
"At one stage he was on a hat trick after clean-bowling two straight and he proved a thorn in Bello's side all day."
With Andrews carrying the lion's share of the workload, bowling partner Lawson Jarman made a serious comeback to prominence by contributing three wickets of his own.
After sending Bellingen crashing to be all out for 65, openers Kel McMillan and David Kennedy needed just 10 minutes in the middle to score the required 10 runs for outright victory.
"That's the third two-day game where we've bowled a side out twice and it was nice to get the outright result," Neal said.
"After a couple of flat weeks I think the Sawtell of old might be starting to re-appear which has to happen if we want to take out West Coffs next week.
"We've got to keep working hard to get where we want to be."
Neal admitted yesterday the squad was feeling 'day after blues' following a night of celebrations.
"It wasn't because we wanted to celebrate the win," he laughed.
"We just thought we'd help the new dad Kel (McMillan) wet the baby's head and let off some steam at the same time."