Brethren defection snares two

By STEVE SPINKS

THE cold wind blowing through the Northern Rivers yesterday mimicked the cold wind blowing through Lismore cricket circles as the new Far North Coast Regional cricket competition was formed on Wednesday night.

While Ballina and Casino cricket clubs have embraced the reincarnation of the LJ Hooker League which includes five Tweed teams, Lismore clubs were only dragged kicking and screaming into the enlarged 14 team competition this week.

It was only after Marist Brothers defected to the new League on Tuesday that two further Lismore sides Souths and an amalgamated Lismore Workers and Goonellabah Workers outfit joined the competition.

This leaves Easts and Norths as the only teams from the old competition not joining the new LJ Hooker League. Both are not joining due to a lack of playing numbers.

The meeting at the Ballina Bowling Club on Wednesday ratified the new nominations from the three Lismore teams and elections were held for a new executive, with Tintenbar-East Ballina captain Brett Crawford the new Hooker League chairman.

"The competition will be stronger because of the Lismore teams inclusion," Crawford said.

"We believe this will be the largest regional competition outside of Sydney.

"The new comp will offer the benefits of playing new players as well as meeting new ones."

The competition will be sponsored by LJ Hooker in Ballina who continue their association with the regional first grade competition for the 16th successive season.

Crawford said the new Hooker League will include two- and one-day matches but they won't be held as separate competitions, as in the old League.

The new chairman said that the committee is toying with the idea of allowing teams to nominate 12 players for each match to allow greater flexibility with player availability during two-day matches.

No doubt all involved will be hoping for a 'thaw' in relations with the Lismore clubs once the Hooker League starts in the spring.



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