HOWZAT: Alf Stone, Keith Wyatt, Steve Small and Steve Twohill prepare for the NSW Baggy Blues Country Challenge.
HOWZAT: Alf Stone, Keith Wyatt, Steve Small and Steve Twohill prepare for the NSW Baggy Blues Country Challenge. Daniel Mckenzie

Cricket legends join young guns for bush cricket bash

FORMER Australian cricket opening pair Geoff Thompson and Len Pascoe will be among a group of past Australian and NSW stars set to pad up for a Ballina versus Tweed invitational match in Murwillumbah next month.

Thompson and Pascoe will join Steve Rixon, Phil Marks, Steve Small and Shane Lee when they take to the field with the North Coast’s top rising stars for the T20 format match, in a major coup for Tweed cricket.

The match is a throwback to Country Cup Games from the 1980s and 90s and former NSW cricketer and organiser Steve Small said the game was a chance to give back to grass roots cricket.

“We thought we’d resurrect the old country cricket format that was a really good talent identifier for cricket in New South Wales,” he said.

“It gives our alumni a chance to get back out in the bush as our best asset is knowing the game so we can come out and hopefully do a bit of good.”

The Tweed District Cricket assocation’s youth and talent development identity, Keith Wyatt, will hand-pick the Tweed side which is expected to include a number of young guns currently playing for NSW in the under-19s Australian Championships in Adelaide.

The association’s president, Steve Twohill, said the Tweed district contained several young players with star potential, that would be on show during the match.

“We’re blessed with some extreme talent here and there’ll be kids in this game that are potentially future stars,” he said.

“The young kids relate to those kids that are 17-20 and if you can (develop) a local hero, that’s important for grassroots cricket.”

Legends such as Don Bradman, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist emerged from bush cricket and Small said the match would be used to identify similar talent emerging from the Tweed and Ballina districts, while raising much needed funds for men’s health.

The gold coin donation game takes place at John Rabjones Oval on January 20 from 4pm and more players will be announced in coming weeks.

A fundraising dinner featuring former cricket stars will be held the night prior to the match.



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