Ballina batsmen start cricket season with centuries

BALLINA batsmen Brett Crawford and Ben Carruthers scored centuries on Saturday to guide their teams to comfortable first-up wins on the Tweed in the opening round of Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket.

With the possibility of outright points the incentive for quick runs, Crawford smashed 110 not out as Tintenbar-East Ballina (4-268 declared) defeated Murwillumbah (143 and 6-128) at Rabjones Oval, Murwillumbah.

"There were lots of fours and quite a few sixes," Tintenbar captain Luke Shay said.

"You feel a bit sorry for the bowlers when he's hitting the ball like that.

"He had a field day."

Mitchell Saxby (56), Luke Hamilton (56 not out) and Shay (30) added to the carnage but in the end the day yielded only first-innings points.

Murwillumbah were in trouble at 5-29 in their second innings before Riley Willemse (41 not out) and Paul Jones (34 not out) saw the home team through to stumps.

At Bilambil Oval, Carruthers resumed on 50 not out and went on to 136 as Ballina Bears (5-291 declared) coasted to victory over Terranora (134 and 3-106).

In what looks to be one of the strongest batting line-ups in the competition, James Thorpe made 56, Sam Adams 33 and Nathan Anson 31 not out.

David Parkes (3-32) was the best of the Terranora bowlers then Paul Sutcliffe (54 not out) batted well to deny Bears any chance of outright points.

Elsewhere, Alstonville (196 and 5-71) completed a strong win over the Casino Cavaliers (138) with left-arm fast bowl-er Jason Caught taking 5-58.

Caught, from Lismore Workers, is in his first season with Alstonville after opting not to play in the Hooker League last season.

He received solid support from his new-ball partner Terry Murphy, who claimed 3-25, including the key wicket of Cavaliers gun Sam Irvine.

Wade Sweeney (49 not out), batting at No 9, hit out for the Cavs to give their score some respectability after they had slumped to 8-61.

It completed a fine double for the paceman, who took two more wickets in the Alstonville second innings to go with his seven on the first day.

At Seabreeze Oval, Pottsville, the home team fell short in a fairly modest run chase.

Lennox Head (178 and 6-96) comfortably claimed first-innings points against Pottsville (117).

Former Sydney first-grader Andrew Lindsay took 4-46 in his first game for Lennox and Adam Armistead finished with 3-26.

Oscar Van Megchelen top-scored with 32 for Pottsville and Isaac Fisher with 47 not out in the Lennox Head second innings.

And at Oakes Oval, Lismore, Marist Brothers (120 and 6-95) held on to deny Cudgen (80 and 4-220 declared) the chance of snatching outright points.

After trailing by 40 runs on the first innings, Cudgen scored at nearly nine runs an over to give themselves enough time to have a second crackat the Brothers batting.

Craig Wilson led the way with a whirlwind 86 and Jamie Wilson hit 54.

Brothers were in big trouble at 5-18 after former Queensland Country representative fast bowler Michael Anderson ripped through the top order with four of the first five wickets

But Luke Cleaver (49 not out) played a steady innings to steer his team to safety.

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