Sawtell in grand final
By MITCHELL DALE
LEATHER dominated willow during the weekend's two first grade cricket semi-finals as Sawtell booked a place in the decider and Bellingen kept it's premiership candle flickering.
The Bellingen lads snuck home against Diggers in the minor semi at Fitzroy Oval and will next week meet minor premiers Coffs Hotel Tigers, who were disappointing in their loss to Sawtell in the one-two match.
Sawtell firmed as competition favourites with a dominant display on both days of the major semi-final.
With the likes of Lawson Jarman, Ben Andrews and Rick Johnson all in form with the ball, Sawtell boast a very formidable attack.
Add to that their almost ludicrous depth with the bat and it is going to take a very strong display from either Bellingen or Tigers to claim the title from the Richardson Park team.
Runs were hard to come by all weekend, with Sawtell the only side to threaten the 200-run mark.
Sawtell rolled Tigers for 133 in 64 overs on Saturday before comfortably reeling in the total with six wickets in hand.
Across the road at Fitzroy, Bellingen were given a fright by Diggers before eventually prevailing on Sunday afternoon, reaching their target of 163 with three wickets remaining.
The good news for Bellingen is all-rounder Justin Gilbert's return to form with the bat.
While Gilbert has been arguably the best-performed bowler of the summer, his batting has been below it's usual high standard.
If Bellingen are to knock-off Tigers and then Sawtell in the decider, they will need 23-year-old Gilbert firing with bat and ball.