Persistence pays off for Bellingen

VICTORY arrived at last for Bellingen at the weekend, when the competition newcomer broke through for its maiden win of the cricketing summer.

And the victory was even sweeter, coming against its inland neighbour from Dorrigo.

Bellingen won the toss and chose to make first visit to the crease but it looked like a terrible mistake had been made when the team was bowled out for 72.

However, club president – and all-rounder – Neil Hopper said nobody was fearful of that total when the players took to the field.

“All the talk among the players was about focusing on bowling tight and giving everything to chase down the ball,” he said.

“Our opening attack concentrated on the stumps and we were rewarded with the breakthrough.

“We bowled straight, took the catches and probably surprised ourselves with what we were able to do.”

Julian Hulbert was the catalyst for smashing Dorrigo open at the top of the order, with superb figures of 4-6 from his six overs.

Hopper chimed in with three victims of his own, along with a catch taken off the bowling of veteran skipper Bruce Mills.

Hopper discounted moisture in the wicket following overnight rain from having too big a bearing on the outcome.

“The square was still a bit damp but the wicket was fine,” he said.

“If anything, we were disappointed we didn’t put on more runs at the start.

“No, I’d say the reason we won was believing we could do it and going on to finish the job.

“Dorrigo was down on strength but that can happen for everybody and you have to take your opportunities when they arrive.”

In hindsight, the win might not be all that surprising, because rival skippers have been remarking lately that Bello did a lot of things right despite the number of fresh faces in the team.

“There was a feeling after we played Tigers and Diggers that we were getting close to the mark and just needed to do a little more in a few areas to put ourselves into contention,” Hopper said.

“Obviously we needed to stay out there batting for longer periods – everybody will tell you that – but persistence was probably going to pay off for us eventually.

“When you look at the other sides, they’re all human.

“Nobody is unbeatable, but to be realistic, the big test will arrive when we play Sawtell next weekend.

“They never give you much at any time and I don’t think that will be any difference in this match.”

Hopper said after the weather worries that had disrupted the opening of the season, it was good to get out in the middle to play some cricket.

“The Dorrigo blokes agreed. We’re just so happy to get a game, instead of hanging around the house all weekend,” he said.

“Getting together with them to have a few beers at the end of the day was really sweet.”

The other game, at Coffs Coast Sports and Leisure Park between Park Beach Bowling Club Colts and Sawtell, was called off due to the weather.

But down the road at Brelsford Park, Coffs Tigers continued to build momentum with success over Diggers Ex-Services.

After winning the toss, Diggers made a keen start before losing Neil Lollback to a fine burst from Michael Bailey at 1-28. When the same bowler picked up Alex Byrne six runs later, the innings began to creak.

Byrne’s 18 runs eventually became top score as Diggers lost their next six wickets for the addition of 12 runs, finally holing out for a total of 60.

David Szumowski looked foreman material for a while in the middle order but nobody was able to hang around long enough to create anything looking like a worthwhile partnership.

Sam Turner took the ball and moved into the spotlight with a career-best return of 5-13 from six overs.

In reply, Troy Herbert made a promising start by sending Kyle Paterson on his way.

However, Tigers kept grafting away and they passed the required target in the 21st over.

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