Ballina hit by ?Bar tradition
By STEVE SPINKS
TINTENBAR-East Ballina does not have one player in the Ballina interdistrict cricket team to take on Lismore in the second round of the SCG Trust NSW Country Cup at Fripp Oval, Ballina, tomorrow.
Despite being the best-performed Ballina club in the Far North Coast LJ Hooker League for many seasons, the Country Cup fixture has clashed with another Tintenbar-East Ballina priority ? the Brisbane Test match.
For 20 years the 'Bar has travelled as a club to the 'Gabba for the Test and unfortunately this season the Country Cup game clashed with their annual pilgrimage.
Local administrators, seeing the clash of dates, tried to re-arrange the match with Country Cup organisers.
However, they were told the schedule would have to stand.
Another commitment, the inaugural Bundjalung Cricket Festival, which is being held this weekend, has robbed Ballina of Ballina Bears captain and talented all-rounder Andrew Gordon.
The conflicting schedules mean Ballina will field a vastly understrength team against a confident Lismore XI that easily rolled Clarence River in the first round.
But Ballina can still boast some quality players.
Lennox Head fast bowler Mark Denmeade will lead the attack, while his usual captain Ben Peterson will probably open the batting with Alstonville's Troy Cook.
However, on paper Lismore will field a superior side around the likes of Eastern Districts stalwarts Bruce Jobson, Brett Ruttley, Ian Gregory and Jake McKinnon.
Step up in class
Meanwhile, Casino face a big test in their second round encounter with Tweed at Reg Dalton Oval, Kingscliff.
Casino won an exciting match against Lower Clarence last weekend to advance, but there will be a step up in class tomorrow.
The Tweed side is dominated by Cudgen players, who made it to the semi-finals of the strong Gabba Sports Cup last season.
The Gabba Sports Cup is a competition contested by four associations ? Gold Coast, Tweed, Beenleigh and Redlands.
Tweed will be captained by Cudgen all-rounder Craig Wilson, who was Tweed District Player of the Year last summer, and will include top batsman Paul Dhillon, who finished third in the batting aggregate in the Gabba Cup competition.
The attack will be led by Cudgen fast bowler Chris Moase.
For Casino, much will depend on the ability of the host of young guns in their batting line-up.
Sam Irvine, Todd Summers and Sam Dietrich are all supremely talented youngsters who really need to start converting the starts they seem to manage every weekend.
BALLINA: Shane Staples, Adam Izzard, Brett Izzard, Dan Williams, Brendan Davis, Josh Slater, Damien Wright, Ben Peterson, Mark Denmeade, Josh Murphy, Terry Murphy, Troy Cook. Reserves: M Hardy, B Mott, S Robb, K Hamilton, B Lacey, M Walter.
LISMORE: Bruce Jobson (c), Anthony Nind, Brad Lofts, Brett Ruttley, Paul Simes, Martin Tucker, Wes Koskela, Jake McKinnon, Dominic Marsh, Ian Gregory, Kai Patch, Adam Thompson.
TWEED: Craig Wilson (c), Terry Wilson, Paul Dhillon, Heath Wilson, Jamie Wilson, Ryan Willoughby, Aaron Laycock, Chris Moase, Lee Baker, James Julius, Chris Carroll, Damien King.
CASINO: Mal Hancock (c), Wade Sweeney, Sam Irvine, Sam Dietrich, Al Nowlan, Mark Mison, Todd Summers, Mark Jones, Scott Shephard, Larry Wilson, Mark Bratti, Dillon Huntley.
n There is no Lismore or Ballina senior cricket today because of the Brisbane Test match between Australia and the West Indies.