AN old-fashioned ambush was waiting for Diggers Ex-Services when they arrived at Rowe Oval on Saturday.
With visiting captain Steve Meakins and strike bowlers Terry and Troy Herbert delayed by work commitments, home side Dorrigo made hay (quite literally) before a late thunderstorm stopped the sun shining, just as Diggers were about to head to the crease and salvage something from a trying afternoon.
“It was far from an ideal start as the travel delay meant we only had eight men to put in the field first up and batsmen Adam Turner and Mick Gilroy took full advantage,” Meakins said.
“By the time I got out there just after 1.30 they were settled in and going for it and it took a bit of effort to rein them in.”
Meakins had Gilroy stumped fairly quickly following a slight mishap but with the tails of the Dorrigo batsmen already lifted, the arrival at the wicket of Justin Gilbert produced more fireworks and the home side kept grinding away well into the middle order.
Ben Neaves and evergreen Bruce Mackie kept alive the threat of a big knock.
“Give Dorrigo credit, their batting was very, very good for early in the season,” Meakins admitted.
“Whatever chances they gave us were very difficult and mostly we dropped them including one on Mick (Gilroy) at one and a half slips that would have been crucial.
“There was a sigh of relief when he eventually departed.
“Looking back in hindsight it still wasn’t a bad effort to hold a side which had 78 on the board before losing that first wicket and restrict them in the end to less than 200 when they had all the momentum.”
Bowler Neil Lollback’s persistence was rewarded by taking the three big scalps at the top of the order but Glen Kesby deserved credit for pinning down the batsmen with six maidens in his 16 overs.
Dorrigo batted out 70 overs and Diggers were padded up for their reply but a massive downpour put an end to any ideas of getting stuck in to the run chase.
Meakins remains confident of pulling ahead when play resumes next at the plateau.
“The ground was very slow on Saturday and conditions are always different at altitude to what happens on the coast,” he said.
“We copped the rain late in the day but five minutes down the road on the way home the sun was shining.
“Hopefully the rain will stay away before the weekend and we get a real good crack with the bat.
“I’m positive we have the depth and talent there to go on with the job.”