By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
THE inclement weather conditions that lasted through all of last week made batting a nightmare on Saturday for Coffs Harbour's cricketers.
Wet wickets in all three grades allowed even the meekest of bowlers to make the ball spit like a cobra which left batsmen in two minds all afternoon.
Proof of how difficult it was is shown by the fact that the highest score for the day in first grade was Sawtell's 9-138 against Coffs Hotel Tigers at Fitzroy Oval.
Sawtell skipper Chris Neal resisted the probing length that the Tigers bowlers were hitting for over an hour to ensure that the reigning premier's middle order had the opportunity to at least bat on kinder conditions later on when the wickets dried out.
After falling to be a precarious 5-34, Todd Gill (44) and Gus Garland (36) steadied the ship somewhat to at least create a defendable target next week.
The worst performed team with the willow were cellar dwellers Bellingen.
Their innings lasted only 77 minutes before being bundled out for a paltry 31 by Diggers Ex-Services.
In reply Diggers themselves were dismissed for only 97 but captain Steve Meakins wasn't too concerned by his team's failure to build a bigger lead.
"After getting them out for only 31 we always wanted to put them in for another bat later in the day," he said.
"We had a target of batting until around 4.30pm in mind so basically all the batsman were sent out there with a bit of a licence."
The Park Beach Bowling Club Colts gain face the task of defending a small total but their bowlers have already laid a platform for success.
Travelling along nicely at 2-80 just before the tea break, the Colts again faced the curse of having most of their runs this year made by only two batsman in Craig Haworth and Matt Rose.
A collapse saw the Colts finish all out for 118 but a difficult hour of batting saw Nana Glen fall to a worrying 4-33 at stumps.