Cudgen aims for final fixture win
IT is crunch time for Cudgen Cricket Club.
Their destiny is in their own hands.
Should they prevail in their final fixture of the regular L.J. Hooker League season against Southern Districts at Neilson Park this afternoon, they are guaranteed a prized home semi-final and, possibly, even an unlikely minor premiership.
Should they fail though, it could spell another short finals foray.
In an incredibly tight tussle at the top, just seven points separate the top three sides, with Ballina leading the way on 82, ahead of Cudgen on 77 and Casino on 75.
Ballina and Casino are set to cross swords at Fripp Oval in their last outing, with a Ballina victory ensuring the reigning premiers back-to-back titles and cementing Casino’s third placed finish regardless of Cudgen’s result.
A Casino triumph however is more interesting.
On one hand it opens the door for a Cudgen crown should they destroy Districts, but on the other it means anything less than the full seven points would cause Cudgen to tumble to third.
Cudgen captain Jamie Wilson has the rare luxury of fielding a full-strength side for the crucial encounter, and sees the game coming down to a battle of the big guns.
“Their batting has been really good this year, but our bowling just happens to be our strong point,” Wilson said.
“A couple of their guys are right up there statistically off the bat, but I believe we have the best bowling attack in the competition and when we fire, we fire.
“It’s going to be a great contest.”
With rain affecting grounds throughout the region, Cudgen, like most teams, has been unable to maintain its usual training regime.
However, Wilson, interestingly enough, believes this has been of benefit to his exhausted side, which has slipped off the pace in recent weeks following a busy representative season.
“Some of us have played a lot of cricket this year,” he said.
“The guys were starting to get a little weary and complacent, but looked a lot fresher when we trained on Thursday for the first time in two weeks.
“Every team goes through a slump at some point, but hopefully ours has come and gone in time for the finals.”
Should the predicted rainfall strike the Northern Rivers, the two-day matches will be reduced to one-day fixtures and played next Saturday.
The action is scheduled to begin at 1pm.
Elsewhere, Murwillumbah will be looking for its first win of the season tackling wooden-spooner Pottsville at Seabreeze Oval, while Terranora Lakes battles Brunswick/Byron at Bilambil, South Tweed hosts Alstonville at Dave Burns Field, Lennox Head takes on Tintenbar-East Ballina at Meegan Crescent, and Lismore Workers lock horns with Marist Brothers at Oakes Oval.