Tigers let Colts escape
By MITCHELL DALE
COFFS Hotel Tigers' bowlers hunted as a pack but couldn't finish off the kill on Saturday with Park Beach Bowling Club Colts escaping their clutches courtesy of a 51-run last-wicket stand at Brelsford Park. Tigers are still in the box seat, however, and will resume next weekend needing only 100 runs for first innings points with eight wickets still in hand. Every member of Tigers' attack performed well to roll last season's runners-up for 163, although Colts would be grateful to be defending that many after slumping to 9-112 in 36th over. Only a half-century union for the 10th wicket between 16-year-old Brendan Ralph and opening bowler Matt Francis saved face for the out-of-sorts Colts. Tigers' run-chase progressed steadily and they finished the day 2-64, with teenage all-rounder Hugh Campbell unbeaten on 44 after earlier claiming 3-39 with the ball. "The boys at the end really saved us," Colts stand-in captain Matt Rose said of his side's innings. "(Tigers) bowled very well early on and I was a bit worried (at 9-112). "But Brendan and Matt batted really well. "Brendan would be our most promising junior at the moment." Despite Ralph's controlled innings, which also drew praise from Tigers skipper Chris Barrington, a move up the order is unlikely. "I like having him down the order where he can cash in and score some runs late in the innings," Rose said. Early in the day, Barrington was entertaining thoughts of taking the full 10 points from the match, but the last-wicket partnership put paid to his hopes of an outright victory. "At one stage we were looking at going for the throat, but now we are just trying to win the game," Barrington said. "We are in a pretty good position, but anything could still happen." Barrington said his side was stepping up to the mark at the right time. "We are starting to play like a finals team," he said. "Our fielding was pretty good on the weekend and the best part of this team is that we have very good harmony. It's a good mixture of old heads and young blokes with a few in between." While Barrington was pleased with the efforts of all bowlers, he felt Simon Wall (3-33 from 11 overs) was the pick, while Rose said No. 7 Matt Bye (26) held Colts' middle order together.