Skies open over cricket semi-finals

?What the? ... Diggers batsman Dean Herbert has his bails scattered by Sawtell paceman Simon Landrigan.
?What the? ... Diggers batsman Dean Herbert has his bails scattered by Sawtell paceman Simon Landrigan.

SAWTELL progressed to their third straight premiership decider and Park Beach Bowling Club Colts eliminated Nana Glen on reduced over rate after rain played havoc with the first weekend of Coffs Harbour District cricket semi finals.

With play abandoned at Richardson Park yesterday, the premiers didn't face a ball from Diggers Ex-Services after passing the first innings target of 113 with three wickets in hand, as the shadows lengthened on Saturday.

"We're all set for the big one in a fortnight," Sawtell captain Chris Neal said, "and I feel we'll be facing Diggers once again.

"Again, I think it'll be a case of the 'young bulls' teaching those 'old bulls' a few lessons."

With those words, Neal ramped up the tension in what remains an intriguing semis series, with Colts now facing Diggers in one week for the right to play the grand final after pulling off one of the most remarkable victories in years.

At one stage on Saturday, Colts had the Lizards backed into a corner at 9-80.

But in an escape Harry Houdini would have been proud of, the last wicket partnership of Damien Elks and Trent Jones took the score to 202, with Elks bowing out with triple figures against his name.

"We certainly saved the best till last, even if it was to no avail," Nana Glen captain Matt Andrews said.

"Watchinmg those blokes fight to save the innings was simply awesome.

"The Colts could hardly believe it and it almost broke their hearts."

Instead, it was the Lizards who had their impossible dream turned into a nightmare when rain clouds gathered overnight."

Persistent morning rain saw play delayed until 1.45pm and in a shortened over game, Colts stealthily batted their way to the required target.

Nana Glen bowled 55 overs during a gloomy Sunday - 22 of them maiden overs - before their tormenters reached 4-77.

"We got rid of Craig Howarth early and that put the pressure on them a bit but as long as they stayed put we were always going to be pushing it uphill," Andrews said drily.

But despite the dissapointment, all talk was of the amazing century from tailgunner Elks, with his 101 including two sixes and ten boundaries.