Top ton gets job done for Lennox
DANIEL Emms cannot remember his last first-grade century but he'll probably remember his latest one for a fair while.
The right-hander kept a cool head under pressure to crack a superb 142 and steer minor premiers Lennox Head through to this season's LJ Hooker League grand final.
After making 250 on day one, opponents Alstonville had the hosts rocking at 3-30 and later 8-194.
Aided by the Sharks' defiant lower order, Emms saw his side home for the chance to secure its first ever first-grade title in the competition.
"It was getting pretty nerve-racking out there towards the end," Emms said. "It was pretty tough, especially with the heat.
"You had to keep your head down and fight it out.
"It has been a fair few years since my last century (so) I'm happy with that."
The seasiders looked in control of the semi-final with Alstonville reeling at 8-128 in their first innings.
Terry Murphy (58) and 10th man Jason Caught however turned the tide, making 142 for the ninth wicket to help Alstonville to a competitive 250.
"We were happy with that, even though it was more than we expected," Emms said.
"We thought we had them on toast but they got away from us."
Skipper Todd Fisher had led from the front with a fine six-wicket haul.
Resuming on day two at 3-94, the Sharks were in trouble as the wickets started tumbling.
With support from tailenders Paul Everingham (23) and Andrew Lindsay, who made 29, Emms guided his side to 268 all out before time was called.
Victory set up a grand final clash against Ballina Bears, who overcame Cudgen in the other semi-final.
A win could complete a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Lennox Head, who finished a lowly 10th last year.
Emms said the influence of juniors Lewin Maladay, Tobyn Burvill and Isaac Fisher, who joined Lennox Head in the off-season, had been instrumental in his side's dramatic improvement.
"I think they've added a lot (to the side) in terms of enthusiasm and athleticism," he said.
"We're looking forward to a good match against the Bears."