By ADAM CARROLL
IT will take nothing short of a miracle for East Royal Tavern to avoid outright defeat at the hands of Westlawn Grafton Hotel when their Bananacoast Community Credit Union Premier League cricket match resumes at McKittrick Park today.
East will resume at 5-24 chasing Westlawn's colossal first innings total of 7-258 declared.
A week of heavy rain in the Clarence Valley will make East's job of escaping an embarrassing loss even harder.
Strike bowler Andrew Firth does not need a lot of assistance at the best of times, but the excess moisture and a bit of grass on the wicket will make him an even trickier proposition for the East batting line-up.
Firth claimed two wickets last week before bad light stopped play.
Westlawn can keep its chances of catching Harwood at the top of the competition alive with an outright win today.
Harwood is locked in a dogfight with Brothers Grafton Services at JJ Lawrence Oval.
Brothers were made to pay in blistering heat for some sloppy fielding last week as Harwood made 4-191 before play was halted due to an approaching storm.
The lower river side will face five overs today and will no doubt be aiming to add at least 30 runs to its total.
A total of 220 plus may be beyond the reach of Brothers. In-form Harwood batsman Nathan Ensbey will resume on 65 today and do not be surprised if he makes a run at a century in the remaining overs.
At Ellem Oval, GI Tucabia-Copmanhurst will be confident of taking first innings points as it chases South Services' first innings total of 178.
Tucabia will welcome back Chris Adamson and Matt Blanch today as it resumes at 2-9.