Barney fights quiet battle

WHEN Lismore takes on Clarence River in the second round of the SCG Country Cricket Cup tomorrow at Oakes Oval, Lismore, Daniel Rowlands intends to have fun.

That's not a profound statement ... but it becomes so when you understand Rowlands' health issues.

The big Eastern Districts all-rounder has not only had to deal with a severe blood disorder in recent years, he's also battling depression.

It's a condition the 35-year-old can only control through the use of daily medication. And there's a stigma.

Depression is not a condition that is easily discussed with your mates at the pub and it's not a condition that has a cure with a simple operation.

"It's a chemical thing in my brain," Rowlands said.

"I've been getting treated for the past 18 months. "The hardest thing is being a sportsman, because you don't function as well."

But it's not all doom and gloom for Rowlands. He's recently been married, and he works with his good friend and former team-mate Bruce Jobson at his plumbing business.

And he's enjoying his cricket, especially with the Lismore representative side.

"I'm really happy that Richard (Nind) is back for this match," Rowlands chuckled. "It means I'm not the oldest player in the team."

Rowlands' involvement with local cricket is immense. Not only does he help select, play and train in the Lismore representative team, he also runs the Milo Have-A-Go program for young juniors, coaches the Clunes Under-16 team and has been mixed up with the Lismore Under-19s.

Not to mention his club commitments with Easts.

His dedication to helping young cricketers is widely acknowledged in the local cricket community.

In between commitments, Barney, as he is known, also finds time to be involved with Mark Robinson's V8 Dirt Modified speedway team.

"I'm the tyre washer and car cleaner," he laughed. "It's good being at the bottom rung and part of a team." He plays it down, but Rowlands has had a solid cricket career.

A Central Coast product, the right-hander played Green Shield and in the Poidevin-Gray competition before his first stint in Lismore from 1995 to 1998.

He played second grade in the QCA in Brisbane with the Sunshine Coast and turned out for the odd one-day first-grade match.

It's this experience that makes Rowlands invaluable to the Lismore rep team.

Along with Norths' Nathan Bonamy and Souths' Nind, they are the experienced players in a Lismore side chock-full of teenagers.

But the teenagers are talented. They can already count Tweed and Lower Clarence among their victims.

"I really enjoyed watching Luke Cleaver bat the other day, and the Jeremy Cowins and the Ben Coopers," Rowlands said.

"All these kids are coming through and we would be one of the only districts that pay for coaching for these kids."

Meanwhile, Casino will go into their SCG Cup match against Tweed at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino, tomorrow full of confidence after knocking out a strong Ballina outfit last Sunday.

Made up of the Cavaliers players, the young Casino top-order will be buoyed by the selection of Sam Dietrich, Sam Irvine and Scott Shephard in the North Coast zone team.

Victory for Casino and Lismore would set up a mouth-watering third-round encounter next month.

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