Clinton Carey (l) and Mark Simpkins (r).
Clinton Carey (l) and Mark Simpkins (r). THe Northern Star/David Neilsen

Casino's Twenty20 cricket vision

WHEN the bowlers get hit for six at the inaugural Casino Twenty20 cricket tournament, the major sponsor could get hit for $500.

Any batsman who can hit one of the Casino Real Estate advertising signs on the full at Queen Elizabeth Park over the next two Saturdays will share in the bounty put up by owner Mark Simpkins.

Simpkins, a former player, said it was a fun way to spend his advertising budget.

“Cricket has always been close to my heart so I thought why not?” he said.

“I love a punt so let's see if someone can hit the sign.”

It's a challenge happily accepted by tournament co-organiser Clinton Carey.

“I'll have a go,” the Cecil batsman said.

“You have to look at hitting it straight.

“Either that or mid-wicket, but I think straight down the ground is the way to go.

“There are a couple of long boundaries at Casino so you'll want to hit it pretty hard.”

The four Casino cricket clubs – Cecil, Commonwealth, South Casino and Golf Club – will each enter three grades in the high-action tournament.

There will be four signs on each of the six grounds at the Queen Elizabeth complex and spectators are encouraged to watch the local batsmen have a shot at the cash.

The Twenty20 concept was introduced by Carey and Mal Hancock as a season opener.

“The Indian Premier League had a fair bit to do with it,” Carey said.

“I was a bit doubtful prior to it but on watching it I realised it was a serious game and it has some legs.

“Hearing the feedback from the young kids, they want to get out there to play this game and not just watch it.”

Carey said it was also an attempt to attract new players to the game.

“There is so much competition for kids' attentions that cricket needs to have a fresh outlook,” he said.

“We've had the same format for years and years. Kids are looking for something new, something exciting and something that's now – and Twenty20 is it.

“In saying that, it's a recruitment idea as well. To get new players interested in the game, there's only one way to do it and that's to get a bat and ball in their hands.

“If it's Twenty20, so be it.”

Carey said he expected the quality of the tournament to attract plenty of attention on the sidelines.

“I think people are going to be quite surprised,” he said.

“It has that bit of flair and it's more about individual performances than the longer forms.

“There's a new skill that's evolved in the way you bat but you can't just go willy-nillly.

“The first thing you have to do is stay at the crease. You're not going to hit the sign if you're back in the pavilion.”

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