DRIVING FORCE: Alstonville batsman Jarryd Thompson drives the ball through the on-side at Hill Park in Wollongbar playing against Byron Bay.
DRIVING FORCE: Alstonville batsman Jarryd Thompson drives the ball through the on-side at Hill Park in Wollongbar playing against Byron Bay. Jay Cronan

Ballina bowling the key

GREG Thompson believes his Ballina bowlers hold the key to earning a surprise Far North Coast under-19 interdistrict win over highly fancied Lismore.

The two teams clash this Sunday in the first match of this season's round-robin competition.

Ballina go into the Neilson Park contest as underdogs, with the city side having dominated the competition in recent years.

Thompson is confident his side can defy the odds, though, if it can produce a decent bowling display.

"We have to try and restrict them (if they bat first)," Thompson said.

"They have got a very good batting line-up. That is their strength.

I am hoping that Neilson Park pitch will be a bit slippery and will give us a bit of assistance.

"We are banking on making them earn their runs."

Ballina will be aiming to get revenge after losing to the city side in the 2011/12 final.

After having Lismore on the ropes at 5-75, the visitors allowed their opponents to post a competitive 210.

That total proved too much, with Ballina eventually coming up 13 runs short at Fripp Oval.

Ballina's hopes will largely rest with promising skipper Jarryd Thomposn.

The all-rounder smashed a century for Ballina against Lismore in the senior SCG Country Shield match earlier this season.

Despite his side containing several youthful faces, Thompson is hopeful his players will develop their cricketing talents quickly.

"I think we have got a chance," he said.

"We are saying to our younger guys: 'Let's stay together as a squad and work up through the next couple of years'.

"They have a formidable side, but we have some very talented players as well. We are confident of giving them a bit of a shake."

Tweed and Casino are also contesting the tournament.



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