Let go: Coffs Tigers bowler Nic Rowe watches closely as his delivery to Sawtell batsman Gus Garland flies through to the keeper during the match at Brelsford Park on Saturday.
Let go: Coffs Tigers bowler Nic Rowe watches closely as his delivery to Sawtell batsman Gus Garland flies through to the keeper during the match at Brelsford Park on Saturday. Leigh Jensen

Effort has Diggers sitting pretty

SPEAKING to the Coffs Coast Advocate yesterday from the deck of a Manly ferry, Diggers Ex-Services skipper Steve Meakins was still buzzing about Saturday’s exciting clash with Dorrigo.

Meakins was heading to the SCG for the Australia’s one-day clash against England which he hoped was as good as his own club’s meeting with the Buzzards.

Veteran Dorrigo bowler Mick Gilroy returned career-best figures of 7-68, which at face value should have mangled the home side’s fun but in defiance of the healthy growth of vegetation after the rain, Diggers reached a very tidy total of 203.

Opening bat James Bellamy rose to the occasion with a superb knock of 79, which according to his captain, almost came to grief in the first over.

“He survived a very confident appeal for leg before and was dropped on a half chance later in the innings but when you get good luck, you run with it as the alternative comes along just as often,” Meakins said.

“There was plenty of juice still in the wicket and if we’d won the toss I would have sent them in to bat first.

“But the boys batted really well with support play right down the order.

“I’ve had to shuffle the order a bit as we had batting at the tail, which means we’re putting ourselves into a fairly healthy position.”

Part of the magic of the occasion was knowing Diggers batted on and on and on, until the second ball of the 73rd over.

“Yeah, it was a bit of a marathon,” Meakins agreed.

“Feature of the batting was the patience ... mistakes were kept to a minimum and the tricky balls were left alone in the main.

“By tea we were only one wicket down and then triple figures were up before we lost the second.

“It was a mighty good effort I thought.”

Meakins paid tribute to the astonishing seven-wicket haul by Gilroy.

“Hard to believe but they were saying it was only the first occasion he’s picked up a five-for,” he said.

“He’s taken four wickets many times in the past by that’s the first time over the mark.”

The match also signalled the comeback of Dorrigo captain Justin Gilbert following a severe finger injury in round two.

Gilbert accepted plenty of work by putting himself on for 14 overs but despite a couple of close scares for opposing batsmen, didn’t manage to crack it for a wicket.

Meanwhile, around the corner from Fitzroy Oval, Sawtell were not so fortunate, punching their way through the out-field undergrowth – or was that overgrowth? – at Brelsford Park and only managed 121 runs in their hard slog through 67 overs.

“We would have liked something around 150 but it was a pity the grass was so lush out wide,” batsman Matt Bailey said.

“It was frustrating to see Chris Neal working so hard for his 35 at the top of the order which could have translated into 50 or 60 if the ball was running.

“I think the grass was mowed earlier in the week and it had a lot of regrowth on it but that’s the way it goes, I suppose.

“You have to take the good with the bad.”

Obviously, Sawtell’s occupation of the crease caused more headaches for Coffs Tigers than meets the eye.

The host side used six bowlers and while Kyle Paterson and Mick Bailey shouldered the biggest burden, Hogan, Rowe, Nathan Secomb and Street got a healthy share of the action with only Hogan finishing wicketless.

Tigers faced five overs at the end of the day with openers Troy Henderson and Justin Squires content to still be there at the finish, rather than hole out with theatrics at the wrong time of the afternoon.

“We can do this, all right,” Bailey remarked, when asked if his side had a genuine chance of victory.

“Obviously we need to bowl well and bowl tight.

“Don’t panic and don’t expect to get wickets every over.

“There’s one whole day at our disposal and no need to waste a minute of it.”

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