Clarence River scrapes home after O'Connell blitz
CRICKET: Despite the grand prize, the Neil Frame Shield, still missing, it did not stop Clarence River and Coffs Harbour from battling out a competitive Over-40s representative clash at JJ Lawrence Field.
With bragging rights up for grabs for the two association sides, neither was willing to give an inch to their opponents.
An uneven bounce in the JJ Lawrence wicket caused problems for both batting sides with many staying low and a few rolling through the crease.
"The longer the game went on the worse the bounce got in the pitch," Clarence River hitter Craig Woods said.
"They got a couple of shooters and their captain got bowled off one that went under the bat like that."
It was a top notch bowling effort by the home side as they restricted Coffs Harbour to all-out for 145 after a strong start from Coffs Harbour's opener Graeme Harvey (43) who retired mid-innings.
Harvey took to Clarence River opening bowler Adam Chapman (1 for 53 off 6) in the formative overs before a stifling spell from Alan Green (3 for 31 off 5) and Ricky Bender (5 for 24 off 4.5) turned the tide back toward the home side.
Bender ran through the lower middle order on his way to his maiden representative five wicket haul as Clarence managed to hold on to their catches in the field.
"It was good, tight bowling by our blokes and some great work in the field," Woods said. "I think our bowling effort, to restrict them to that total definitely won us the game."
Clarence openers Brett Pardoe (10) and Scott Chard (25) got the home side off to a stable start before Coutts Crossing second grader Noel O'Connell (40 not out) took the game away from Coffs Harbour with classy strokeplay.
"It was tough to score runs out there," O'Connell said. "There was a lot of uneven bounce and the outfield was really slow."
Clarence River were 4-96 at the halfway point in their innings but after the retirement of O'Connell and the loss of Craig Woods (29) the scoring dried up.
It took Clarence until the final over of the day to hit the winning runs in what was a nail-biting clash.
The home side will now await a clash against Nambucca on December 11.
SCORECARD: Coffs Harbour Districts 145 (G Harvey 43, S Griffiths 20, D Ellis 22, R Bender 5/24, A Green 3/31) def by Clarence River 8/146 (S Chard 25, N O'Connell 40*, C Woods 29, B Saker 3/23)