Tweed teams fight to keep in touch
SEASON-defining clashes will mark the resumption of the LJ Hooker League competition in 2011, with two Tweed teams needing victory to keep touch with the top four.
After a strong start to the season, in which Cudgen, South Tweed and Terranora Lakes all held spots at the top of the ladder, Cudgen is the only one of the three that remains in a finals position at the start of the sixth round.
South Tweed Colts now sit fifth, one point behind fourth-placed Lennox Head, while Terranora is sixth, another point behind South Tweed.
This week will decide whether the Colts and Lakes sides launch themselves back into coveted top four spots, or slip further towards mid-table misery.
The Colts face a tough test against top-placed Casino at Casino, while Terranora has a fascinating clash with third-placed Ballina Bears at Ballina.
Casino will be favourite over the Colts. Unbeaten this season, the reigning premiers are looking in the type of form that could allow them to win another flag. Colts are a solid team, but may struggle against the class of Casino.
The Lakes fancies itself as a top-four LJ Hooker League club and it could move into that group with a win over Ballina Bears.
Rain has blighted the season so far and at times has reduced the competition to a lottery.
Some teams have managed outright victories in weeks where other sides have had their matches abandoned by rain. It underlines the importance of any victory as the season progresses this year.
Two teams restricted to three draws by the rain this season are Cudgen and Lennox Head and they meet over the next two weekends. Lennox sits fourth and has racked up two first-innings wins, but has been prevented from amassing any more victories by the weather.
The competition may not have seen the best of its classy side, while Cudgen boasts a stack of representative players who have shown good form this season.
Meanwhile, Murwillumbah has one of its best chances to climb off the bottom of the ladder when it takes on 11th-placed Lismore Workers.
Pottsville also has a good chance of continuing its winning form and to make up for the disappointment of having its victory over Marist Brothers erased when it takes on Byron Bay at Seabreeze. Pottsville is three spots above Byron on the ladder and will be confident of a win.