Junior cricketers on show this week in Lismore
MORE than 200 top young cricketers will bat, bowl and field their way through four days of cricket this week in the annual Under 12 Junior Cricket Carnival in Lismore.
The tournament will see 20 teams from across NSW and southern Queensland play a round robin series of both 25, 30 and 45 overs matches, culminating in a grand final at Oakes Oval on Friday.
Organiser Bernie Cooper said the tournament was a highlight on the junior cricket calendar and always received glowing feedback from players and parents.
One big drawcard is the chance for young cricketers to play more than half the games on turf wickets – a rarer privilege for junior players in other regions.
“We use six of the turf wickets locally including Oakes Oval,” Mrs Cooper said.
“It’s a credit to Lismore City Council to have so many turf wickets available.”
“Oakes Oval is also a premium venue for a country town, it’s a stand out facility.”
Turf wickets give the young bowlers a wider wicket and more opportunities for the ball to turn, while batters get to try their hand at less predictable balls.
“It’s a (new) skill for the batters to play on turf, but they generally enjoy it,” said 16-year-old Jacob Graham , who has represented the Far North Coast twice in the event and is now coaches one of the two local teams.
Mrs Cooper said the Far North Coast Green and Gold teams would get valuable exposure some of the best junior cricketers in the country.
That includes facing up to some serious pace attacks from the likes of Manly Cricket Club, whose players may not get much turf time – but can bowl in the 90-100kmh range.
“Having said that Far North Coast have made it to the semis and occasionally won it,” she said. “They’re not necessarily out of their depth, but it gives them strong competition to play against.”
Australian Test players like Dave Warner, Usman Khawaja, Josh Hazlewood and local legend Adam Gilchrist all played in this tournament during it’s 32-year history, alongside up and coming players like Queensland’s Simon Milenko, and former Lismore and now Dutch representative players Ben and Tom Cooper.
Teams will play two 25-over matches on both Tuesday and Wednesday before suiting up for single 45-over match on Thursday before the 45-over final at Oakes Oval on Friday. The eight non-finalist teams will also play a 30-over match on Friday.