SPEARHEAD: Clarence River's hopes of winning three representative fixtures in successive weeks will rest heavily on the shoulders of strike bowler Brad Chard.
SPEARHEAD: Clarence River's hopes of winning three representative fixtures in successive weeks will rest heavily on the shoulders of strike bowler Brad Chard. Debrah Novak

Much more than pride on the line for Clarence River

NORTH COAST CRICKET: More than just pride goes on the line as Clarence River looks to finish the representative season on a high.

The side faces a busy schedule with potentially three matches in 15 days to wrap up 2016/17, starting this Sunday against Coffs Harbour in the third and final round of the North Coast Inter-District Competition.

With all four sides on a win apiece, the clash at Ellem Oval as well as the match between Lower Clarence and Nambucca Valley at Maclean's Thistle Park are effectively semi-finals, with the winner of each to play the final in a fortnight on February 12.

Clarence River and Lower Clarence are also booked to contest the annual Cotten Shield under lights at McKittrick Park from 2pm next Sunday (Feb 6).

A successful two-week period for Clarence River would help erase memories of a dismal last outing on November 20 when the side was dismissed for just 24 runs to bow out of the NSW Country Cup to eventual winners Tweed.

However, Clarence River skipper Jake Kroehnert stressed the importance of registering a win this weekend went beyond salvaging pride, with two pieces of silverware still up for grabs.

"It would be good to forget about the Country Cup," Kroehnert said.

"We've had the Christmas break now, we're back, we're fresh and hopefully can go in with a positive attitude and put in our best shot.

"We've got a pretty fresh looking side with and every game means something. There's no dead rubber, they're all big games. So hopefully we turn up for each and get three wins."

Eli Fahey, Mitch Kroehnert and Adam Elliott all played at various stages earlier in the season but missed the Tweed clash. The trio of all-rounders return to the side carrying good form.

"Eli and Adam both played really well last time they played and should bring some confidence to the side," Kroehnert said.

Coutts bowler Adam Elliott is competing in the CRCA premier league match between Easts and Coutts at Small Park Ulmarra on Saturday, 17th December, 2016.
Coutts bowler Adam Elliott is competing in the CRCA premier league match between Easts and Coutts at Small Park Ulmarra on Saturday, 17th December, 2016. Debrah Novak

Elliott impressed with the bat scoring 43 not out in his representative debut against Lismore on October 23. He comes back into the side having taken 19 wickets in three GDSC Premier League matches at an average of 10.58 per wicket and economy rate of 2.04 runs per over.

Jake Kroehnert rated Fahey's defiant 26 in the low-scoring loss to Nambucca Valley on November 13 a man of the match effort. He missed the Country Cup loss due to junior representative commitments.

Coutts batsman Eli Fahey during the CRCA premier league cricket match between Coutts and Brothers at McKittrick Park on Saturday, 14th November, 2015. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
Coutts batsman Eli Fahey during the CRCA premier league cricket match between Coutts and Brothers at McKittrick Park on Saturday, 14th November, 2015. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner Debrah Novak

The 15-year-old returns fresh from leading North Coast Zone at the Under-16 Bradman Cup and subsequent first grade scores of 72 and 41 for his club side Coutts Crossing.

Meanwhile, Mitch Kroehnert has rocketed to third spot in the GDSC Premier League most wickets tally with 21 after taking six in Clocktower Hotel Brothers' round seven outright win over GDSC Easts.

The player at the top of that list - Coutts Crossing's Zac Page - is the other inclusion for Sunday. The 38-year-old seamer made his CRCA 1st XI debut 12 months ago and has earned a recall having taken 28 wickets at 12.93 (ER 2.79) so far this season.

Sunday's clash gets underway at Ellem Oval in Grafton at 10am.