Indigenous Bear off to the Red Centre
By STEVE SPINKS
BALLINA Bears captain Andrew Gordon has cricket on his mind.
Today he will lead his team in its quest for outright points against Lismore Workers at Fripp Oval, Ballina, in the Far North Coast LJ Hooker League.
Tomorrow he will leave for Sydney to join the NSW Imparja Cup team as it prepares for the Australian Indigenous Championship at Alice Springs starting on Wednesday.
Before their trek to the Northern Territory, the NSW Imparja team will have a trial match on Monday against a NSW Youth XI, which is a combined team of NSW Under-19 and Under-23 representatives.
This is hot on the heels of Gordon playing for a combined NSW Imparja, NSW Under-19 and NSW Under-23 team that defeated the Fiji national side last week.
"We knocked them (Fiji) over pretty easily," Gordon said. "They got 123 and we passed them with only two down."
Gordon made 48 batting at the top of the order.
The Imparja team also had a full net session with the NSW Under-19 and Under-23 squads at the SCGafter the Fiji game.
"We trained straight after the Shield (State) team, which then went out to do some fielding practice on the SCG," Gordon said.
"It was really good; some of the bowlers definitely had my eyes open for a while."
The all-rounder also managed to catch up with former Lismore NSW Under-19 rep Tom Cooper, who he hopes plays in the Combined Youth XI on Monday.
"I haven't got to bowl to Tommy for a couple of years," Gordon said.
This is the fourth year of the Imparja Cup in its present format, with a team from each State.
Gordon was with the NSW team that came third last year, and he said the Blues were focused on capturing the silverware.
But it's not just about cricket.
"It's a big cultural experience," Gordon said.
"On the Friday night there's a big dinner and you can catch up with all the cricketers you know.
"We also have a talk about where everyone's at in developing indigenous cricket."
NSW will begin their Imparja campaign against South Australia on Wednesday, with the final set down for Sunday.
Matches are 30-overs-a-side with the final 40 overs.
Gordon's involvement in the Imparja Cup means he will miss the first week of the Bears' last round- match against Souths.
But before he heads away on NSW duty, he will be looking to push for an outright win over Lismore Workers at Fripp Oval.
Bears are 1-44 in reply to Workers' first innings 96.
Gordon (5) and opener Lee Barnett (32) are the not out batsmen.
Ballina and Workers were the only Hooker League match to play last Saturday due to rain.
The other four fixtures will be played as one-dayers today: Lennox Head v Souths at Saunders Oval, Ballina; Eastern Districts v Casino Cavaliers at Heaps Oval, Lismore; Marist Brothers v Alstonville at Oakes Oval, Lismore; and Norths-Goonellabah RSL v Tintenbar-East Ballina at Nielson Park, East Lismore.