Bretheren split ranks to join new competition
By STEVE SPINKS
LISMORE'S Marist Brothers Cricket Club will join the new look Regional First Grade Competition after the club reversed a decision yesterday to play in the Lismore Disctrict Competition this summer.
Brothers will be the sole Lismore team and will join clubs from Ballina, Casino and the Tweed in the new competition which will be established tonight at a meeting at the Ballina Bowling Club.
The move is sure to cause a stir in Lismore as the five established first grade teams in the City - Brothers, Easts, Souths, Workers and Norths-Goonellabah RSL - had originally agreed to play a sole inter-club competition following the disintegration of the long-running LJ Hooker League which encompassed teams from Ballina, Casino and Lismore.
But Brothers president Luke Collings said his club will be better suited to the expanded regional competition.
" Basically we had renewed interest within the club for the expanded competition particularly from the younger players," Collings said.
"We have a young first grade squad and that played a part in the decision even though some of the older players are not interested in travelling.
"I can understand why the Lismore Clubs have taken the stance they have.
"But each club is different and we believe this is a better alternative for Marist Brothers."
The standard of the Lismore first grade competition was also a factor that influenced the reversal.
"The performance of (Lismore) clubs over the years, apart from Souths and Easts, have been a little below par and that includes us," Collings said.
"We are under no illusion that this will be an easy transition for us because the competition will be stronger."
Collings said that even though there will be relatively frequent trips to the Tweed, the travel would be minimal.
"The new highway (at Brunswick Heads) eased our concerns and with that in place it should be only 45 minutes to most grounds on the Tweed," he said. The new look Regional Competition will included Marist Brothers, the Casino Cavaliers, Alstonville, Ballina Bears, Tintenbar-East Ballina, Lennox Head, South Tweed, Murwillumbah, Pottsville, Cudgen, Terranora and a reformed Brunswick-Byron club.
Acting secretary of the Far North Coast Cricket Council John McMahon said that other Lismore clubs have until tonight to join the new competition.
The meeting, which starts at 7.30pm, will decide on the format of the new first grade competition while a sub-committee will also be formed to conduct the 12 team league.