Diggers’ bat Raj Sandhu is surrounded by blue caps in the the last meeting with Sawtell.
Diggers’ bat Raj Sandhu is surrounded by blue caps in the the last meeting with Sawtell. Leigh Jensen / Coffs Coast Advoc

Bats will do much crossing at Fitzroy

EXPECT batting flamboyance when Plantation Diggers and Sawtell meet today in a limited overs match at Fitzroy Oval.

Sawtell has held the reputation of kings of one-day cricket for years but every one of its rivals now acknowledges Diggers has the longest batting tail in the trade.

If there's a heatwave, winning the toss and getting runs quickly will be ultra-important, and Diggers captain Alex Byrne believes he has an extra factor in his favour.

That would be a bowling "discovery" named Trevor Bailey, who came out of nowhere seven days back to smash Park Beach Bowling Club Colts' top three batsmen.

"Trevor is older and has a great cricket brain at a time when I believe the bowling depth indicates inexperience across the competition," Byrne said.

"I had a yarn to (rival captain) Dave Angus and I came away with an idea there's going to be a bit of excitement from the batsmen.

"If that occurs, I think we can meet whatever challenge Sawtell throw up and have the bowling smarts to do it.

"And I never doubt we can bat for a big score."

Angus expects his team will stand side by side with Sawtell in a tribute to the one-year anniversary of the passing of Phillip Hughes, a member of the Blue Caps' 2004-05 premiership winning side.

Then, the battle will be on again.

"Again, after talking with Dave, it's safe to say our two clubs are probably around the same level at the moment due to the way the standard seems to have flattened out.

"Nambucca are unbeaten and the form side, so they'll probably remain favourites for as long as they keep winning.

"Sawtell and us are just behind them and then it's Colts and Dorrigo on a par and able to catch you out if you're not on your game.

"At least so far as batting is concerned.

"As Trevor showed last week, bowlers can spring a surprise and that is all part of why this season is already so interesting."

Byrne confirmed Russell Gardner had retired following a string of injuries that meant he only appeared in the opening round, saying the loss would take some time to overcome.

In today's other match, Colts and Nambucca Valley meet at Coffs Coast Sports and Leisure Park while Dorrigo has the bye.



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