The final round before the semi-finals became controversial when Lennox Head, after a protest, won the minor premiership before a ball was bowled on day two of round nine at Kingsford Smith South, Ballina, on Saturday.
Lennox Head claimed 12 outright points through a protest on day two against Tintenbar-East Ballina after match officials agreed the pitch was not prepared to the guidelines for play.
The 12 points shot Lennox Head to the top of the table ahead of second-placed Cudgen, third-placed Ballina Bears, with Alstonville hanging on to take fourth spot.
Going into the final round, the top four was in with a chance for the minor-premiership.
Going into day two of round nine, Lennox Head were facing an uphill battle to score 325 and take first innings points against Tintenbar-East Ballina.
After Lennox was awarded the match by protest, the teams played unofficially to tea-time before the Bar 'pulled the pin'.
Lennox Head had lost three wickets for a score of 185 runs.
The Bar is not impressed with the way Lennox Head achieved its 12 points.
Team spokesman Brett Crawford said showers on Saturday morning had led to the covers being kept on the pitch by curators longer than expected.
"The covers were left on a little bit longer – there were a couple of showers yesterday morning – we cut the grass and rolled it – which was fine – and they claimed outright points.
"That allowed them to get the minor premiership – they would not have got the minor premiership without 12 points – they would not have got 12 points because they were chasing 325."
Crawford is adamant there was nothing wrong with the pitch and believes play should have proceeded as normal.
Crawford said he had since rung officials of the Ballina Bears and Cudgen clubs to put forward his thoughts on what had happened and to express the view play could have gone ahead officially.
DEFENDING premiers Cudgen and the Ballina Bears could not be separated for a first innings result at Fripp Oval. The match was drawn.
On day one, the Bears scored an impressive 279, with Lee Pittavino (53) and Luke Hall (81) top scoring.
Cudgen were none for four at stumps on day one and held the line on day two to be 6/257 at stumps.
The Bears were in with a real chance, especially after star Cudgen batsman Tait Burns was out for 26.
So it was up to the Wilson boys to stop the rot – and indeed they did – Jamie was not out 83 and Craig looked set for a century until being caught and bowled for 90 by Sam Adams.
Adams was on song overall in taking five wickets for 67 off 26 energy-sapping overs.
HONOURS were shared in the match between the Casino Cavaliers and Lismore Marist Brothers at Queen Elizabeth Park. Brothers won outright and the Cavaliers gained first innings points.
On day one, the Cavaliers declared at 4/286, and Brothers at stumps were 6/155 and without real hope of forcing late entry into the semi-finals series for major premiership honours.
At the start of day two, Brothers captain Luke Collings declared his team's innings closed and conceded first innings points to the Cavaliers.
It was the right decision in the interests of getting Brothers back on track, as the Cavaliers collapsed to be 6/94, before captain Al Nowlan declared the innings closed in a bid for a crack at outright points.
Marist Brothers were invited to bat a second time and score 225 runs for outright victory. They were up to the task in scoring 6/228 for victory.
Opener and outstanding Brothers batsman Nicholas De Giusti led the way with a quick-fire 73, and was backed up by Luke Cleaver (58) and Toby Collings (47).
THE clash between Alstonville and Pottsville also featured declarations in the quest for more points.
Alstonville won on the first innings but Pottsville stuck to its guns to claim outright victory.
On day one, Alstonville scored 240 to be in the box seat. On day two, Pottsville collapsed to be all out for 143. It would have been a much lower score but for the resilience of opener Jayden Hoare 57 runs, number three Adam Rogers (38). Number 10 Kyle Lohman chipped in with 10, while extras offered 11.
Alstonville's Jason Caught took four wickets for 31 off 15 overs.
Alstonville captain Steve Robb elected not to bat a second time and sent Pottsville back in.
Pottsville held on to compile 3/101 and claim outright points.