Too far to go, says NSW Country quick
By STEVE SPINKS
LISMORE Eastern Districts fast bowler Ian Gregory has knocked back a chance to play for the NSW Country cricket team due to extra commitments expected of the Bush Blues this summer.
Gregory, who has represented NSW Country several times, including last January in Lismore at the Australian Country Championship, decided against playing for the Bush Blues in a pre-season tournament in Sydney.
NSW Country will take on Sydney West and ACT in the early rounds of the tournament and players are required to commit to the early fixtures if they want to be involved at the Austral-ian Country Championship in Western Australia early next year.
"It was just going to be too much travelling," Gregory said.
"Playing against Sydney first-grade teams would have been exciting, but in the end it would have been just too much."
The fast bowler also wanted to be able to take holidays from work that weren't based around playing cricket.
Instead, Gregory will focus on a full season of first grade with Easts, who have asked for and been granted Nielson Park as a permanent home ground by the Lismore District Cricket Association.
The initiative by the Eastern Districts club to be based at the East Lismore ground could turn local cricket on its head.
For years clubs have shared grounds and not made one oval a home.
It contrasts with Ballina District cricket, whose three LJ Hooker League clubs are based at different grounds.
It has allowed those clubs to help build infrastructure and improve facilities.
Easts hope to follow suit.
Already plans have been made for new practice nets near the East Lismore Bowling Club.
"The Bowling Club has a DA (development application) in with the council to put a verandah at the end of the field," said Gregory, who is also on the Easts committee.
"We'll play all our first grade and reserve grade home games there.
"We are Easts, so it's a bit silly not to be based at East Lismore."
A link with the bowling club is also being explored.
Gregory recently completed a short playing stint in England and he likens the idea to the usual club set-up over there.
"It would be just good to have a home ground," he said.
"In England everyone has a home clubhouse and ground, and that creates a team and family atmosphere."
NSW Country squad:
Simon Moore (c), Brad Bannister, Aaron Alley, Burt Cockley, Gary Geise, Michael Gerits, Sam Gilmour, Steve Mudford, Ben Nott, Daryl Parmenter, Sean Robertson, Ben Woolmer. Coach: Anthony Stuart. Manager: Mark Curry.