Perth recruit seals deal
SAWTELL moved to outright top spot on the leader board after a four-wicket victory over Diggers Ex-Services at Richardson Park.
The win came despite captain Ben Andrews and in-form all-rounder Dave Angus being away on representative duties with the North Coast side.
Andrews kept in touch from Tamworth and gave the lion’s share of credit to a middle-order fight back after a disastrous start.
“We lost Glen Johnson without scoring and the second wicket with only 31 on the board but from there, everybody came to life,” he said.
Spearhead was newly-signed wicketkeeper Trent Mitchell who has made a big impression since arriving from Perth.
His 57 runs lifted the total into triple figures and handy knocks from the ever-reliable Lawry, Andrews, Neal and Butterworth line-up set the side on the road to victory.
Mitchell’s 81-run partnership with Lawry probably was the key ingredient for turning the tide back in favour of the home side.
“Trent played some nice shots and I think he really announced his arrival a couple of weeks ago in the opening Twenty20 match,” Andrews said.
“He can also bowl leggies but I don’t think he’ll need to get the pads off just yet.”
Having Chris Lawry back for a temporary spell was an extra bonus as the club will find it necessary to mix and match with some players unavailable over coming weeks.
“Chris is here until January, I think, but we’ll be missing Isaac Hillery for a month or so and it’s good to know the back-up players are there to fill the gaps.”
Maybe, Diggers deserved a better fate.
Batting first they set a respectable 8-171 with half-century contributions from opener Ben Gudex (63) and captain Steve Meakins (62) in a 104-run partnership but three wickets each to Blair Craddock and Daniel Palin shook up the Diggers support staff.
As for the idea of playing one-day matches at the start of a rain-interrupted season, Andrews said to “bring it on”.
“To be honest we probably get more time to play cricket if you can get through your full allocation of 45 overs,” he said.
“Sometimes it can get a bit one-sided in two-day games but I’ll take whatever comes along.”
Across the grades, it was another week without any player cracking an individual century with only Dorrigo first grade opener Josh Noble getting close before going out on 87, every Aussie batsman’s hoodoo score.
Meanwhile, North Coast went down in both their representative games at the weekend.
They were dominated by Central Coast in the opening fixture despite a handy total of 176 with Andrews contributing 41 and a half-century (54) by Adam Turner.
Central Coast were full of aggression with Mitchell Coombs taking 5-44.
In North Coast’s second outing against Western, the loss of three early wickets proved too much of an obstacle to overcome.
The side eventually made 162 but it wasn’t enough.
Defending champions Newcastle cruised into the final with a solid win over Central North while their opponents are still to be determined.