The 4 cricket teams under pressure ahead of semi-finals
IT'S almost anyone's competition to win, as the Far North Coast Cricket Council LJ Hooker League heads towards the semi-finals.
The top four teams are Cudgen (48), Lismore Workers (45), Pottsville (37) and Casino (34), but they are being chased by Marist Brothers (31), Alstonville (31 - facing a bye) and Lennox Head (30).
League president Phil Melville said the weekend matches will be fast and furious with some excellent cricket expected to attract fans.
"The nine team, two-day competition is nearing the final round days play with six out of the nine teams still mathematically a chance of making the top four and proceeding to the semi-finals," he said.
"Technically, Alstonville is mathematically a chance, but with nothing to lose, Tintenbar (15) and Murwillumbah (5) can upset some teams aspirations at the final hurdle."
Melville said the semi-finals, which conclude this Saturday, will consist of action-packed matches.
"Then the winners of those semi-finals are ultimately playing off for the prestigious premiership," Melville said.
"For some teams there is literally nothing to lose and a win-at-all-costs attitude will be undertaken this Saturday, not forgetting that the almighty weather may have the final say.
"It is a fantastic and high calibre competition and we are very proud of the quality, the quantity and the sportsmanship on show."
Currently Cudgen are 4/50 chasing Lismore Workers 154 and either could secure the minor premiership, Melville said.
"Pottsville will be chasing down the Casino total of 9/199 on Saturday, a very handsome total in potential moist conditions," he said.
"This battle is crucial with third and fourth position critical for semi-final matches.
One may think that both teams could be safe, better think again."
He said Marist Brothers will play cellar dwellers Murwillumbah at Oakes Oval, Lismore and on 5/35 will chase Murwillumbah's first innings 80.
Tintenbar's 9/87 against Lennox Head, and if the latter can obtain the final wicket relatively cheaply and overhaul Tintenbar's total, they may be finals bound.
Alstonville are only three points out of the top four, however they have the final round bye and receive no points.