CRICKET: Coffs Coast Chargers missed out on progression to the Plan B Regional Bash finals at the SCG next week by a whisker.
After both the Chargers and rivals Northern Rivers Rock finished with two wins apiece in the round-robin format the decision came down to net run rate across the weekend which the Rock had on its side.
So tight was the competition at Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park all four teams in the Northern NSW Zone had finished with a win after two rounds of cricket.
"We were actually third on the net run rate after the second round,” Chargers franchise manager Ken Robinson said.
"We got up in the final game against Macquarie Coast Stingers (who were second), but the Northern Rivers side went out and scored 2-245 off 20 overs in their last clash,” Robinson said.
"It made it almost impossible for us to get near them, no matter what we did with the ball.”
Northern Rivers batsman Caleb Ziebell finished that clash on 128 not out, taking the award for most individual runs scored across the round games.
It was a first time the finalist was decided in a round robin format and Robinson admitted all players and staff enjoyed the opportunity to play three games across the weekend.
"It was great because if you lost a game, you were still in with a chance to progress,” he said.
"Destiny was put back in the player's hands.”
The Clarence Valley was well represented in the Chargers ranks with English import Mack Spencer, in-form Brothers batsman Jamie Firth and Westlawn bolter Jacob Ellis.
Ellis managed to jag a couple of wickets across the weekend while both Firth and Spencer looked more than capable with the bat in their few opportunities.
"Being the nature of the T20 format we weren't able to get a really good look at (the Clarence trio),” Robinson said.
"But they all went out there and tried to best of their ability.”
Northern Rivers Rock will now progress to face off against Newcastle Blasters in the first semi-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The winner will play the winner of Wagga Wagga Sloggers and last year's Regional Bash winners Orana Outlaws in the other semi-final.
Robinson disappointed with player defection
CRICKET: While he sent a clear warning to players ahead of the weekend, NCCC president Ken Robinson was saddened to see at least four players who turned down the Coffs Coast Chargers, turn up for their club sides at the weekend.
"I think we need to start to impose some serious penalties on these players,” Robinson said.
"We will look at it at the AGM to address it for next year and for future years.”
Robinson said the first step for the North Coast Cricket Council would be to impose a regular round bye for the Regional Bash weekend across all first- grade competitions in each of the four associations.
"If we have no club cricket on that weekend, then we can ensure we will have the best of the best to choose from,” he said.
Robinson said it was a shame to see so many of the players turn down the opportunity to represent.
"They should jump at the opportunity,” he said.
"We really need to change the mindset of some of these players.”