Hulbert runs hot against Diggers
HEATWAVE conditions left cricketers sweltering on Saturday but the upshot was all three first grade matches are balanced on a knife-edge ahead of their completion next weekend.
Even battling Bellingen can rate themselves a chance against Diggers Ex-Services, after a fantastic 81-run knock at the top of the order from Julian Hulbert.
The talented young batsman looked century-bound but a Joe Willman delivery had him trapped leg before and while there was limited wag from the tail, Diggers are four wickets down and still 54 runs in arrears.
On the adjacent wicket at Coffs Coast Sports and Leisure Park, the top-of-the-table clash between Park Beach Bowling Club Colts and Coffs Tigers looks headed for a nail-biting finish.
With Tigers bowlers Nic Rowe and Kieran Hogan having ripped through Colts' top order, three quick wickets set up the prospect of chasing an unlikely innings decision, or the match could even swing 180 degrees in favour of Colts if batsmen Firth, Noble and Duly rise to the occasion.
The temperature got a few of the players hot under the collar at the weekend, with colourful banter exchanged between several of the participants, including one gold medal-winning spray sent in the direction of veteran Selwyn Manz as he departed the middle.
And Sawtell has a lot of ground to make up after dropping catches all over the place during its excursion up the plateau to Rowe Oval.
Dorrigo posted 149 on a wicket that should have had a couple of hundred in it but it could easily have done worse if Sawtell hadn't had another attack of butterfingers.
But the visitors are a long way from safe, with the early loss of Glen Johnson and Chris Neal forcing a re-think on batting strategy and still more than 100 nervous runs to negotiate before the outcome is clearer.