Tom Cooper
Tom Cooper www.sport.unsw.edu.au

Lismore cricketer scores rapid half-century

LISMORE'S Tom Cooper blazed a quickfire half-century to set up a record-breaking run chase for South Australia in their Ford Ranger Cup one-day cricket match against Tasmania at the Adelaide Oval.

Set 310 by defending champions Tasmania, of which Alstonville's Brendan Drew posted 11 not out, Cooper opened the batting and scored 66 from 73 balls as the Redbacks went on to reach 4-313 and win with eight balls to spare.

The successful chase was the highest in interstate limited overs cricket at the Adelaide Oval.

“It was unbelievable,” Cooper said yesterday.

“They got off to a flyer and we ended up doing well keeping them to 310.

“Adelaide (Oval) is always flat and they're (Tasmania) the defending champions.

“With 310 on the board we were still positive about it but, you know, if a couple of things don't go your way it can quickly get away from you.

“The only thing we talked about was the new ball - it was very important to the outcome.

“We knew if we played to our potential we were definitely capable of chasing down the total and I suppose everything went to plan.”

Cooper's opening partner Michael Klinger was the hero when he smashed 133 of 128 balls, but with his second 50 in three one-day games, Cooper went a long way to cementing a spot at State level.

After three seasons in Sydney grade cricket, Cooper moved to the 'City of Churches' this year and impressed selectors with a series of scores for grade club Adelaide University and in the Redbacks' pre-season inter-squad matches.

He made his first-class debut against Western Australia earlier this month in the Sheffield Shield and is relishing the change of scenery.

“It's going awesome, unbelievable,” he said.

“I'd been in Sydney for three years in the hustle and bustle, then come out here and it's so much more relaxed.

“It's more like back home in Lismore.

“The squad was so easy to fit into. I already knew a few of them, not very well, but as soon as I got here I felt welcome straight away.

“I never got a game for New South Wales.

“I came over here hoping to get an opportunity and fortunately I managed to score some runs and the selectors picked me.

“I'm still trying to cement a spot.

“All I can do is try to score runs and leave it up to the selectors.”

Although the 22-year-old had been preparing all his life for the elite levels of cricket, the step up was still a nervous affair.

“It's hard to explain,” he said of his first-class debut.

“I've never been that excited and that nervous all at once before.

“It's a very big step up.

“You don't get the bad balls as often and most of the time if you give a chance it's out.”

But it is a rewarding journey.

“I'm loving it,” he said.

“I couldn't think of anything better to do.”



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