Clunes? True Blue
IF former Clunes cricketer Matthew Phelps plays for the NSW Pura Cup cricket team at Oakes Oval in Lismore next summer, it will be a proud moment for his parents, Warren and Beverly.
With the announcement earlier this year that Oakes Oval would host the inter-state clash between the Blues and Victoria starting on January 16, the Phelps family is walking a tight-rope.
"It would be the first time he's played for NSW up here," Mr Phelps said from his Clunes farm.
"All we have to hope for now is that he's in form and in the team.
"It would be a big thing for the wife and myself.
"Victoria and NSW games are always pretty close."
Phelps passed his first test when his Blues contract was renewed for 2005-06.
His second test was as part of the NSW team that has been touring India for the past few weeks.
The Blues are due back this week from the pre-season tour and it proved a successful hunting ground for the right-hander.
Phelps' highest score was 119 in a two-day match against Canara Bank in Bangalore, and he scored consistently throughout the tour.
NSW lost in the quarter-finals of the two-day competition in unusual circumstances.
The match finished in a rain-affected draw and the winner was decided by the toss of the coin.
Unfortunately, captain Aaron O'Brien called incorrectly despite practising his two-up skills all the previous night.
The tour capped a remarkable few months for Phelps.
Firstly, the 32-year-old was part of the victorious NSW Pura Cup team that defeated Queensland in a thrilling finish in Brisbane.
A couple of weeks later Phelps' first grade team, Sydney University, won the grade competition.
It was the former Lismore Southern Districts player's first Sydney premiership after more than a decade.
To top it off, his wife Tamara gave birth to the couple's first child, daughter Mia, shortly after.
"The first time I spoke to Matthew (about it), he thought it (the Lismore match) may have been at the start of the season," Mr Phelps said.
"Matt loves to get home and he loves the farm.
"Even if he doesn't play I think he'd still come home and bring all the team out here for a barbecue.
"It's a big thing for him and for us ... I just hope we get a good crowd."
The Northern Star reported in June that Cricket Australia had announced the Pura Cup fixture would be played at Oakes Oval starting on a Sunday following an ING one-day match at Coffs Harbour the day before.
The game could boast a duel between Australia's spin kings, Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill, as both would be unlikely to figure in any one-day internationals.
It will be the first time Oakes Oval has hosted a State match since 1979, when NSW defeated Queensland in the Sheffield Shield.
It was the first Shield match to be played outside a capital city.
n Tickets will not go on sale for a few months. The Northern Star will report where and when you can get tickets when they become available.