FNC baseball goes it alone

FAR North Coast Baseball kicks off its 70th season of competition today.

In a major change, the interleague with Gold Coast will not be played this year.

Gold Coast clubs are struggling to field A-grade teams this winter due to the withdrawal of senior players who were committed to the Brisbane competition over summer.

The Far North Coast season will begin where it ended last year with a rematch of the grand final between defending major premiers Redbirds and two-time bridesmaids Workers.

Workers will lose Martin Tucker in coming weeks to an English summer of cricket.

But their junior stocks are plentiful as they turn to the likes of Trent Clark, Sam Keehn, Nathan Daley and Bryce Martin.

Redbirds will look to Nathaniel Steele, Jake Turcato and Shane Davis to take their places in the senior team.

In the other game, Brothers clash with Norths.

Brothers proved to be a handful at times last season, relying on a diverse pitching stable in Luke Sharp, Chris Coleman, Mark Newstead and Mick Youngberry.

They weathered a season without Australian rep Matt Gahan, who spent the year contracted to the Japanese Industrial League as he pursued his professional career.

Injury has hampered Gahan's preparations this year and he is unlikely to feature in the Brothers line-up.

Norths As have taken out two premierships in Division 1 in recent years and may be ready to challenge for a Major League title.

Paul Simes hit the cricket ball well through the summer and should feature as the spearhead of the Norths line-up.

James Linger continues to rack up his credentials in international baseball.

While he will undoubtedly feature in early games, his commitments to the Academy program will allow older brother Matt to establish himself as a batting powerhouse.

Far North Coast Major League baseball is played mainly on Saturdays on Baxter Field and Thew Field at Albert Park in Lismore.

Games today start at 2.45pm.

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