In form: Pottsville’s Byran Wirth is handy with the bat but has been very impressive with the ball this summer.
In form: Pottsville’s Byran Wirth is handy with the bat but has been very impressive with the ball this summer. Blainey Woodham

Pottsville primed for match

POTTSVILLE hopes to notch its second win of the season for a second time when playing host to Alstonville at Seabreeze Oval this afternoon.

Two-run victors over beaten grand finalists Marist Brothers in their last hit-out before the Christmas break, Pottsville was primed to ascend to the top half of a tight ladder.

However, in a cruel blow to the recovering 2009-10 wooden spooners, Pottsville was stripped of seven competition points and the match declared abandoned courtesy of petty LJ Hooker League politics relating to the match’s weather-forced relocation.

“We celebrated like we won the grand final after beating Marist in such a tight game,” skipper Shane Robinson said.

“They say it’s not in the spirit of the game to move the fixture but why not play if you can. Several other games went ahead and even the Lismore guys disagree with the decision.

“Seven points would have put us in strong position, only a couple points outside the four entering the break, so the committee is still fighting it for us and may even take it further.

“But as far as the team goes, we’re not going to dwell on it – they can take the points but not the memories.”

While the decision just wasn’t cricket, the draw leaves Pottsville in 10th place on 22 points, and a second official win today could potentially see Shane Robinson’s men sneak toward the top six – a far cry from the cellar in which they have become accustomed to spending their recent seasons.

Courtesy of washed-out fixtures, only seven points separate Pottsville and fourth-placed Terranora entering round seven, with the majority of outfits sporting more draws than they have wins or losses.

And, as was the case with the Marist match, victory on home soil this afternoon would enable Pottsville to leapfrog their opponents as Alstonville are merely two points adrift in eighth.

The lost points are as added motivation for Robinson’s troops.

“We’re all keen to get on the field,” Robinson said.

“We’ve been training and doing what we can when games have been called off and we’re really looking forward to getting out there, particularly at home.

“We were written off to be wooden spooners at the start of the year but we’ve taken it to a few sides now and are continually improving. I’m really happy with the way we’re travelling.”

Fast making a name for themselves, pacemen Brad Morris and Bryan Wirth will likely lead the charge for Pottsville.

The pair has worked tremendously together since season’s start and proved one of the most lethal rotations in the league.

They are statistically rated the competition’s 10th and 11th best bowlers after six rounds, with both snaring 11 wickets apiece from the four matches played, and Morris proving particularly economical (2.87 runs per over).

“It’s no surprise to see Bryan taking wickets, he is a very good cricketer and topped the Casino A grade comp for wickets last year,” Robinson said.

“But Brad has just surprised everyone, including himself.

“He was only a fringe first grader at the start of the season but is bowling out of skin and exceeding everyone’s expectations. Couldn’t be without him now.

“He loves the club, loves cricket and everything he does is at 100 miles an hour.”

Averaging 28.2 runs an innings despite a pair of ducks, Trent Bennett has proven himself the club’s best bat – third in the league statistically – and Pottsville will no doubt look to him to inspire its innings again.

“Trent’s batting really well and has put his hand up for top three at the end of year,” Robinson said.

“But it’s a good mix we’ve got and everyone’s starting to gel as a team.”

The action begins at 1pm.

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