Dave Noonan

Northern Districts fall short in fielding

NORTHERN Districts boss Craig Howarth spent plenty of time watching his young squad tackle Coffs City Colts over the last two Saturdays and wouldn't have liked much of what he saw away from the wicket.

Despite Saturday's solid fight by the tail with half centuries from Ben Gudex (71) and veteran Robbie Wear (52), the Rebels fell 18 runs short of victory.

Ultimately, the damage had already been done on day one.

Joe Mennie caused endless frustration by taking seven Colts wickets but in the process, the field stood flat-footed while 31 sundries were conceded, including five penalty runs.

That blemish aside, 19 byes in the total told the sorry tale, especially when Colts' worst sin was to offer three 'no ball' deliveries in their total of seven extras, making the fielding difference glaringly obvious.

It harks well for Colts' long term chances, especially if it means they're finally going to throw off their 'social' image and replace it with one of a side prepared to make the extra effort that delivers some solid results.

Meanwhile, Coffs Hotel Tigers made sure none of the Sawtell team had any fingernails left by running the premiers to within two runs of defeat in a thriller at Richardson Park.

On a hot afternoon, the Tigers must have dreamed endlessly of cool sips of the sponsor's product as they grafted away against a massive 599 deliveries, only to fall frustratingly short.

Opener Troy Henderson 'only' contributed 29 to the total but stonewalled all attempts to remove him and was the sixth wicket to fall. At the back end of match, Peter Bayley and Chris Barrington terrified Sawtell nearly to death as they drew closer and closer and their eventual demise was a complete relief.

For Sawtell, Chris Lawry, Simon Bathgate and Blair Craddock toiled away for over 70 overs with Lawry rewarded by a bag of five wickets.

It was a squeak ... but victory meant Sawtell completed round one with first innings wins in all matches.

Fourth grade batsman Josh Brady registered a century as did Bellingen third-grader, Julian Hulbert.



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