Far North Coast cricket's cream of the crop
ABOUT 50 kids were part of selection trials for the two Far North Coast teams competing in the Lismore Workers Club Under-12 cricket carnival this week.
Far North Coast Gold have a chance to win it for the first time since 2007 and will play at Oakes Oval in an afternoon game when the carnival starts Wednesday.
"The selection process itself was pretty difficult in that we had had 50 kids trialling for 24 spots,” FNC Gold coach Grayson Kernaghan said.
"I had to say to the kids that there were more of them that were going to miss out than were going to get in.
"There is a lot of talent in our area and I think these kids can give it a good shake.
"They will need a good start in the opening games and it will all come down to how they bowl and bat.
"Two players from our region are actually playing for Parramatta as well because they were short on numbers.”
There will be 20 teams from across New South Wales and South-East Queensland playing a round-robin series of 25, 30 and 40-over games, with the final at Oakes Oval on Saturday.
Australian Test players Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja and David Warner all had their first taste of representative cricket at the Lismore carnival.
Other players to take part in the carnival include Ben Cutting, Peter Forrest, Stephen O'Keefe and the late Phillip Hughes.
Local products Tom Cooper, Simon Milenko and Brendan Drew also played before going on to state cricket.
The Cooper family is still tied up with the carnival, with Tom's mother Berni Cooper taking on the role of co-ordinator in recent years.
Clunes cricketer and former NSW middle-order batsman Matthew Phelps played in the inaugural carnival 33 years ago before returning as a coach with Manly-Warringah in 2015.
Northern Districts won the carnival last year for the first time when they beat Manly in the final.
"There will be at least three or four teams that will be above average,” Kernaghan said.
"But I think changing the format with selection this year allowed us to have a better look at our kids.
"Every kid in the (Gold) team has played at least four 40-over games on turf wickets in the lead-up.”
Lismore Workers Club and Lismore City Council have been the major sponsors of the event for a number of years, helping make it the biggest Under-12 carnival in Australia.
The carnival always brings additional money to Lismore when a lot of local people are away on Christmas holidays.