Picking through the ashes of LJ Hooker League cricket competition

By STEVE SPINKS

GEORGE ORWELL once wrote that sport was 'war minus the shooting'.

While the machinations behind the scenes in the forming of the new Far North Coast Cricket Regional first grade competition haven't quite reached the point where shots have been traded, a definite Cold War has developed.

Four Lismore teams Souths, Easts, Norths-Goonellabah Workers and Lismore Workers were left fuming on Tuesday following Marist Brothers' last-minute defection from the Lismore District first grade competition to the new region-wide super league involving teams from the Tweed, Ballina and Casino.

It left the Lismore competition with only four first grade teams and a lack of credibility.

The direct result of the Brethren's decision has seen a Southern Districts and a combined Lismore and Goonellabah Workers team be nominated for the regional comp leaving Easts and Norths as the only teams from the previous LJ Hooker League not to join the new competition.

Souths in particular were unimpressed by Brothers' change of mind.

"We're far from convinced that this competition will be better, but we've been left without a choice owing to the capitulation of Marist Brothers," Souths president Paul Fredericks said.

"We're unhappy and disappointed with the way the new competition has been implemented.

"As a result of this decision we will have to travel further and our first graders, many of whom coach and assist junior teams of a Saturday morning, will no longer be able to do that."

Fredericks and Souths believes the LJ Hooker League was the perfect vehicle for cricket in the area.

"We had a great!competition and it deserved to be left alone," he said.

"We won't be following Marist Brothers into any trenches."

Fredericks said Souths' 2006-07 Premiership team will remain unchanged for the new season.

Lismore Workers will join forces with Goonellabah Workers, formerly the team that was!amalgamated with Norths, and should!produce a competitive outfit.

However, Easts and Norths will not be joining the new competition.

Easts, a powerhouse of the LJ Hooker League, believe too much politicking has gone on behind the scenes and not in the proper forum.

Their absence is a protest.

Norths are struggling for numbers and will happily play in the top Lismore grade while they rebuild the club.

Teams included in the new competition include Souths, Workers, Marist Brothers, the Casino Cavaliers, Alstonville, Ballina Bears, Tintenbar-East Ballina, Lennox Head, South Tweed, Murwillumbah, Pottsville, Cudgen, Terranora and a reformed Brunswick-Byron team.



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