Aaron Jeal.
Aaron Jeal.

Collins' ready for cricket

BALLINA’S favourite English cricketers, Aaron Jeal and Ben Collins, are ready to hit the pitch at full steam for the Bears when the FNCLJ Hooker League cricket resumes on Saturday.

In their first season of Australian cricket the pair has adapted nicely to the conditions with their side undefeated and just three points behind competition leaders Cudgen with six matches to play.

Opening batsman Jeal has been a revelation for Bears – leading the run-scorers and keeping wickets – while Collins has enjoyed an up-and-down half a season which started with a five-for and ended with a dislocated shoulder.

It happened when he was fielding in the deep in November. Collins dived for the ball and landed awkwardly, popping his load-bearer.

The new-ball bowler is adamant his shoulder is back to 100 per cent and he is keen to get back into the swing of things.

“I set myself a target of 30 wickets in the season,” Collins said.

“So far I have managed 15 and there is plenty of time left with the finals to come, so 30 is a bare minimum.”

“I got my five-for in the first match so it was good to get that out of the way.”

The fiery quick thinks that his side is perfectly poised to challenge for back-to-back titles and won’t be shying from leading the way.

“We can definitely take it up another gear and we haven’t played the other two top teams yet so we will know how we are going then,” he said.

Collins and Bears will have to wait until the final rounds of the season to take on Cudgen and the Casino Cavaliers, but more than that Collins is looking forward to getting some help out of a deck after toiling hard on primarily batsmen’s wickets.

“You really have to be patient on these wickets, they are a lot slower and flatter than I expected so I am keen to get a bowl on a wicket with a bit of help,” he said.

The Englishman has just enjoyed his first summer Christmas and has fallen in love with the concept of cricket on the beach in December.

“The holiday has been superb, the beach cricket got a bit misty after a few drinks but it was unbelievable,” he said.

“I enjoyed the fireworks over the bridge in Sydney for New Year’s – just spectacular.”

Bears’ season resumes when they clash with Brunswick-Byron at Thompson Oval, Brunswick Heads.

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