Bears to face Cavaliers' acid test
DESPITE the Casino Cavaliers' dominance of Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket over the past two seasons, Ballina Bears can go into their two-day fixture at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino, starting today with plenty of confidence.
In the last two-day match that went the full distance between the two sides, Bears won by 65 runs in the 2008-09 final.
Since then, because of rain, the teams have not played in a game against each other that has lasted two full days.
Cavaliers club president and batsman Myles McDowell expects Bears to offer a stern challenge.
"I wouldn't say that grand final is still fresh in our mind,s but we certainly don't want to lose to them again," he said.
"We've hit back very well since that loss, but Bears are always tough."
For the Cavaliers, prolific runscorer Sam Irvine will return from a back twinge while McDowell is excited at what all-rounder and off-season gain Brenton Fuller will add to his team.
"He bowls some good leg-spin and has been hitting the ball as hard as anyone in the nets," McDowell said.
For Bears, Janeth De Silva will make his Hooker League debut.
The off-spinner has joined Bears from playing at a high level in Western Australia after a strong recommendation from fellow Sri Lankan Hooker League star and tweaker Jeewan De Silva.
"He's not a big turner of the ball, but he's been doing enough in the nets to trouble some of our batsmen," Ballina Bears club captain Shane Jacobs said.
In the Lismore derbyat Oakes Oval, Marist Brothers take on Workers Goonellabah.
It will be the first match for Workers Goonellabah as a joint-venture team after their first-round clash with Alstonville was washed out.
For Marist Brothers, top-order batsman Nick De Giusti misses this game with an ankleinjury and Ben Collins takes his spot.
Tintenbar-East Ballina will look for a much-improved batting performance against Byron Bay at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina, after hanging on for a draw last round against Brothers.
Left-arm medium-pace bowler Jacob Stephenson will make his debut for the hosts.
Alstonville hosts Pottsville at Hill Park Oval, Wollongbar, today and left-handed batsman Aiden Lindsey will play just his second Hooker League match.
In the other fixture, Cudgen will take on Terranora Lakes at Reg Dalton Oval, Kingscliff.
Applications are open for the Commonwealth Bank's Grants for Grassroots Cricket program that will provide more than 200 clubs across Australia with grants worth $1750.
Now in its third year, the program offers clubs $1000 cash and $750 worth of equipment.
To apply for a grant, visit www.lovecricket.com.au by 5pm on Sunday, October 30.
Successful applications will be announced in the week starting November 14.