FINAL BANG: Nathan Blanch made his return from a finger injury to take 3 for 43 for Clarence River in the North Coast Inter-District grand final against Coffs Harbour on Sunday.
FINAL BANG: Nathan Blanch made his return from a finger injury to take 3 for 43 for Clarence River in the North Coast Inter-District grand final against Coffs Harbour on Sunday.

Wicket whiz happy to be back

FOR Nathan Blanch it was a season of what could've been.

After just eight rounds "Pidge" had taken 33 wickets and was well on track to surpass his tally of 45 regular season Premier League wickets in 2013/14.

Blanch had one wicket to his tally in the last game before Christmas against GDSC Easts when he reached for a sharp chance in the field and suffered a double dislocation to his little finger on his right hand.

The injury was ill-timed - just a week before the Clarence River team's triumphant trip to the Country Shield finals at Tamworth.

"It was the one thing I was looking forward to," Blanch said.

"Making grand finals with Westlawn would've been awesome too. But it's the furthest we'd in rep cricket since I've been around.

"It was still good to see the boys get the win up."

Instead, Blanch had finger surgery and was all set to make his return in the final round - a must-win game for Westlawn who had struggled in his absence.

Both weeks were washed out, ending the side's finals hopes, but interestingly leaving him perched at the top of the leading wicket takers column for 2014/15 Premier League season with 34. When the award is officially announced at the Clarence River Cricket Association's Presentation night on Friday, April 10 at GDSC it will be the second year in a row Blanch has taken home the trophy.

"It's very surprising after only playing half the year," Blanch said.

"I would've liked to have played the whole season but still I'm pretty happy to get it two years in a row.

"I didn't hold my hopes up at first because there was still a lot of cricket left. But towards the end I was still leading and with a bit of rain around was still in with a show."

Blanch finally made a relatively successful return on Sunday, when he opened for Clarence River in the North Coast Inter-District grand final against Coffs Harbour on Sunday.

While Clarence River suffered a heavy loss, Blanch took 3 for 43 off his 10 overs. "Bowling-wise the finger doesn't hurt at all. If a ball hits it in the field it's going to hurt."

Blanch has one last cameo before the season is out. Westlawn is looking to finish the season on a high and register their first Cleavers Night Cricket win the season in the final round clash with Tucabia-Copmahurst at tomorrow night starting at 5.45pm.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

NATHAN Blanch is the CRCA Cricketer of the Week for his comeback spell of 3 for 43 for Clarence River against Coffs Harbour.

A consolation for missing the Country Shield final with a finger injury, Blanch has won a $20 voucher at Toast Espresso.



Group 2 season hangs in balance for injury-ravaged Rebels

premium_icon Group 2 season hangs in balance for injury-ravaged Rebels

Rebels need victory to keep finals hopes alive

School obesity test a weighty issue

premium_icon School obesity test a weighty issue

EVERY Australian child’s height and weight would be recorded.

STUNNING VIEW: Highway's biggest bridge ahead of schedule

premium_icon STUNNING VIEW: Highway's biggest bridge ahead of schedule

Bridge builder admires view from new engineering feat 50 years on

Local Partners