Tait Burns and Nick Gray celebrate Cudgen’s semi-final victory yesterday.
Tait Burns and Nick Gray celebrate Cudgen’s semi-final victory yesterday. Craig Sadler

Cudgen's shot at grand final glory

CUDGEN defeated the Ballina Bears in the semi-finals of the LJ Hooker League by six wickets yesterday and the team is itching to get back on the field and collect the crown in next weekend's grand final against Casino.

Skipper Terry Wilson said the side would pull together and use the home advantage at Reg Dalton Oval to secure the title against the Casino Cavaliers, who defeated Lennox Head yesterday.

“We're going to win this for each other, we're going to win it for the club, and we're going to win it for the Tweed Shire,” Wilson said.

He described yesterday's victory as a “baronial conquest” and said the team was in a state of pure elation.

“It was a really good effort. I could only describe it as baronial,” Wilson said.

“We had absolute patienceand that's not something we're renowned for.

“We just accepted that if we played the game things would happen and that's how you win.

“We just let the game take its form.”

Cudgen bowled first after losing the toss and bowled Ballina out for 133 in 66 overs.

Cudgen was then able to sneak in 58 runs in 33 overs with just two batsmen forced to walk when the whistle blew on Saturday afternoon, just halfway into the semi-final.

“James Julius bowled superbly,” Wilson said.

“He didn't get wickets, but he bowled 16 overs in a row.

“Of course we would have preferred to bat first, but everyone did a really good job.”

Securing wickets were Craig Wilson (3), Michael Anderson (2), Tait Burns (2), Damien King (2) and James Adams (1).

Craig Wilson and Aaron Laycock were sitting on 20 and 18 runs, respectively, when play ended on Saturday. They led Cudgen back into play yesterday hungry for victory.

Laycock delivered 63 runs before getting out leg before wicket and Wilson was caught out on 32 runs.

Tait Burns, who delivered a ton to win the minor premiership last week against South Tweed, then only had to make 19 runs to deliver the winning total of 134 with four wickets down.

Despite the excitement of collecting the win, captain Wilson said the team had not forgotten the real challenge that lay ahead.

“We still know that the big game is next week,” Wilson said.

“But this is our first time winning a semi-final, so you can't blame the boys for being excited.

“Coming this far when we've never made it this far before is a real motivation.”

Wilson said there would be no changes to the team's plan of attack.

“We will play our game the way we always do,” he said.

“We're going to try to keep patient.

“At the end of the day all we can do is set a pace for ourselves and try to follow it.”

Cudgen Leagues Cricket Club president John King said the team was quietly confident they could give the LJ Hooker League a really good shake-up this year.

“I think the A-grade has worked so hard over the last few years and now they're getting the results and working out what semi-final and grand final cricket is all about,” King said.

“They are well focused and with the local support on the home ground they should play well.”

The grand final action begins at Reg Dalton Oval, Kingscliff, at 11am on Saturday.

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