MOMENT OF TRUTH: Casino?s Sam Irvine reacts to being caught for a duck in the Cavaliers? L J Hooker League match against Alston
MOMENT OF TRUTH: Casino?s Sam Irvine reacts to being caught for a duck in the Cavaliers? L J Hooker League match against Alston

Final at the SCG

by Paul Attewell and Steve Spinks.

CONGRATULATIONS to the Lismore and Casino Interdistrict teams which both had solid victories in the first round of the SCG Country Cup.

Both have tough games this weekend against Ballina and the Tweed respectively.

While on the Country Cup, what a wonderful initiative to have the final played at the Sydney Cricket Ground in January.

On that regard organisers need a big pat on the back.

But what about the scheduling for the final 16 play-offs which are always played in the week between Christmas and New Year.

What a joke!

Bad timing

Surely there could be a better time of the season to hold these games that are supposed to be the pinnacle of bush cricket. Year after year teams are left understrength because of family commitments during the holidays.

Surely, the final 16 play-offs would be better served to be scheduled after the New Year.

This would allow most of the players to have time off to see their families.

Lismore is one team that has struggled to field a full-strength side because of the commitments during the holidays and FTB is sure they're not alone.

Perhaps, there should be no final 16 tournament at all.

Wouldn't it be easier to simply continue the knockout on the Sunday of each weekend until there are a final two teams to play in the final, instead of gathering 16 teams from all over the State to play in a three-day carnival at the busiest time of year.

Casino double

ANOTHER big 'well done' to Casino pair Sam Irvine and Wade Sweeney for making the North Coast team that will contest the Northern NSW Country Championships in Gosford this month.

Once again, most of the area's best players were unavailable due to work or family commitments.

And why would they bother to make the effort to go to Gosford for the supposed NSW Country selection trials?

The NSW Country team has already been selected as witnessed by the Bush Blues playing in a provincial championships against Sydney combinations and an ACT side in October.

It makes you wonder why they're holding these selection championships at all.

Take Irvine as an example.

The outstanding young batsman hit a century and a half-century at the Northern Titles last summer and didn't even rate a mention on the selectors' radar.

Why bother having selection championships if the players that perform at the tournament don't get selected?

With that whinge out of the way, FTB wishes Sweeney and Irvine the best of luck at Gosford, along with their North Coast teammates.

Marlon, Jermaine, Dwayne ... bravo!

WEST Indian Marlon Samuels' 250 against Queensland was pretty impressive.

Hopefully it bodes well for a competitive summer.

Wouldn't it be great to see the West Indies fire up and make a series of it.

FTB is not sure what it is about the Calypso Kings, but even when they were damn near unbeatable over a decade ago, they were fun to watch.

And seriously, how cool are their names?

Tino Best, Jermaine Lawson, Dwayne Bravo etc etc.

They sound so cool!

Bros-Bears tie

THE tied match between Marist Brothers and the Ballina Bears in the Hooker League was an interesting outcome.

It never fails to amaze FTB how cricket matches can finish as a tie with all the variables the game throws up.

No doubt, Brothers and Bears players were discussing the inevitable what ifs on Saturday night.

As for Bears and Brothers, it looks like they could well be building towards their first semi-final spots in many years.

Still a long season to go yet.

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