Cudgen keen to stay ahead of the pack

CUDGEN Cricket Club members believe they're the top dogs in Tweed cricket, and last year's semi-finalists are keen to assert themselves as early as possible in this season's LJ Hooker League.

“We've been the best team from the region for the past three years running,” Cudgen captain Jamie Wilson said.

“We intend to carry the mantle again this year.”

Holding third spot after a convincing triumph over South Tweed in the opening round, Cudgen are looking to cement their spot up top with a victory over Murwillumbah in their derby clash at Rabjones Oval today.

Confident of winning, Wilson is more concerned with his men developing as a team and preparing to launch a serious assault on the competition.

“We were happy with our first outing, especially considering the pitch,” Wilson said.

“But we're looking to play a bit more like the southern teams this year, and build an innings as a team.

“We have the bowling attack to defend any reasonable total, but need to win more outrights against the weaker sides and that's what we're searching for this weekend.”

Pummelled by Alstonville, Murwillumbah were the only side to slump to an outright loss in round one and hence lie alone at the foot of the ladder.

However boasting two of 2008's champion players in Paul Dhillon and Aaron Chapman, and led by the likes of captain Matt Parker, Murwillumbah certainly have the calibre to mix it with the best and can never be underestimated.

Also looking to prove a point this season are the boys from Terranora, who battle local rivals Pottsville at Seabreeze Oval this afternoon. Narrowly edged out of last year's semi-finals by Cudgen, the Bilambil boys are focused on going one better this time around and in turn staking their claim as the best on the Tweed.

Conversely, Pottsville are the reigning wooden-spooners - though that's not a title they're itching to defend.

If the season openers are anything to go by, they're in for a torrid time against a dogged Terranora, who accumulated just four runs less in their first innings loss to Marist Brothers than Pottsville managed in two against Lismore Workers.

Disappointed to fall short of Cudgen's tally last weekend, South Tweed are looking to bounce back today when they host Ballina at Dave Burns Field.

Spearheaded by inspirational skipper Jack Boote, the Colts' off-season recruits have breathed new life into the tenacious outfit, and they'll all be tested once more against reigning premiers this afternoon.

However Ballina looked out of touch in their draw with Southern Districts last weekend, and should Boote's men catch them off-guard, it could make a few clubs stand up and take notice of the dark horses.

Elsewhere Southern Districts do battle with Casino at Oakes Oval, Brunswick/Byron battle Lennox Head at Thompson Oval, Marist Brothers meet Tintenbar-East Ballina at Neilson Park, and Lismore Workers welcome Alstonville to Heaps Oval.



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