Ian Gregory sends down another thunderball.
Ian Gregory sends down another thunderball.

Star?s daily dose of speed

By STEVE SPINKS

BY day he is a mild-mannered accountant at The Northern Star.

But on the weekend Lismore's Ian Gregory transforms into an aggressive, snarling, spitting fast bowler.

It's a transformation that works well for the 25-year-old Eastern Districts paceman.

After all, he has just been selected ? along with Easts team-mate Tom Cooper ? in the NSW Country team to contest the Australian Country Championships in Lismore in early January.

Gregory forced his way back into Country calculations with a strong performance for North Coast at the Northern NSW Championships earlier this month.

He snared eight wickets from three games even though North Coast lost each match.

This will be the third time Gregory has won selection in the NSW Country team.

He broke into the team in the 1999/2000 season and was also selected in 2001/2002.

He missed the intervening season after he tried, unsuccessfully, to modify his action with the help of fast bowling coach and Aussie great Dennis Lillee.

Fifteen of NSW Country's best fast bowlers headed to a camp with Lillee and Gregory was one who suffered as a result.

"The year I missed out I changed my action," he said.

"It was a combination of me not feeling comfortable in it and not being strong enough.

"I lost all my pace."

All arms ... legs

However, he reverted to his 'all arms and legs' action and got back to relying on his height as his main weapon.

In 2002/03 and 2003/04, Gregory was unavailable for selection as he was doing a chartered accountancy course.

With that now finished, the lanky right-armer can concentrate on his cricket.

Gregory's team-mate, Tom Cooper, was a surprise selection in the NSW Country team and will be contesting his first Australian Country Championships.

Cooper, of Corndale, was unavailable for the selection trials in Maitland as he was trialling with the NSW Under-19 team.

He was included in the young Blues side and will contest the Australian Under-19 Championship in Melbourne from December 5.

The 18-year-old admitted surprise at his inclusion.

"It was (a surprise) actually," he said.

"They rang and asked if I was available and I said 'yes'.

"John Sullivan said he'd let the chairman know, but he didn't promise anything.

"Three days later they rang to tell me I was in the team."

Cooper still hasn't made a decision as to when he'll head down to Sydney to try his luck in Sydney grade cricket.

"It will definitely be after this (ACCC)," he said.

"Maybe early February .. I'm still not sure."

Two players in the NSW Country team ... that's good news for Easts.



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