DIGGERS Ex-Services claimed first innings points while Dorrigo’s season hit a massive snag during an action-packed Saturday afternoon at Rowe Oval.
Last season’s runners-up battled hard to reach the 170-run target set on day one with a shocking injury suffered early in the session by home-town skipper Justin Gilbert assisting their efforts.
The classy all-rounder broke his hand in the eighth over while diving for a catch and expects to be out of action until probably the New Year.
“My thumb dug into the turf and pulled the bone right through the skin,” he said.
“It looked bad and it felt even worse but I managed to have it operated on that night and now they’ve got me doped up to kill the pain, which is only made worse by losing narrowly.
“At the time we were going so well and making Diggers fight for everything but I guess we may have lost concentration when I hit the ground and in the long run it forced us to lose momentum.”
Winning captain Steve Meakins agreed the injury to Gilbert was “a shocker” and helped turn the match.
“Probably spurred us on when he left the ground and while there were some tense moments, we got there in the end,” he said.
With the departure of his captain, Dorrigo veteran Mick Gilroy shouldered an increased work load and emerged with four wickets against the middle order.
One of those victims was Meakins who as a wicketkeeper would not have been amused to be drawn out of his crease and stumped by opposite number Nathan Burley.
Ironically, Meakins had stumped Gilroy who’d opened the Dorrigo batting on the first day.
“After starting patchy there was great batting from Troy Herbert,” Meakins said. “He holed out on a big hit going for his half century and was picked off on the boundary.
“We were still picking up runs down the order and being able to bat deep is going to be a big advantage.”
Sawtell chased an innings victory over Coffs Tigers and just missed by a whisker.
Not out ‘master blasters’ from day one, Angus Garland and Glen Johnson, missed out on triple figures but their epic partnership of 146 was some-what overshadowed by the extraordinary bowling figures of captain Ben Andrews.
From his 14 overs in the second innings, 11 were recorded maidens and while there was no wicket taken, four runs only were relinquished as he frustrated and tamed the Tigers batsmen.
No play was possible due to the condition of Coffs Coast Sports and Leisure Park with first innings points granted to PBBC Colts.
Meanwhile, third grade bowler Paul Graham created a double sensation for Diggers in their clash with Tigers.
Not only did he pull off every trundler’s dream with a hat-trick but finished the match with figures of 9-21, just missing the record set by Stephen Ide (10-20) in 1981.
His full match figures of 15-34 also pushed hard on Brian Bellamy’s (15-27) record bag from January 1979.