Late bloomer's great call-up
JAMES Williams is proof fairytales can happen on the cricket field.
The Souths Sharks all-rounder was plucked out of the Casino A-grade competition to play for the town's representative team in the SCG Country Cup against Lismore yesterday at Casino.
And the result - Casino (8-237) defeated Lismore (206) at Queen Elizabeth Park.
Williams was delighted to receive an SOS call to step up and play representative cricket after five players were unavailable.
And the 37-year-old did not let his teammates down.
Williams smashed an unbeaten 93 from 84 balls to help guide his team to a 32-run win over the visitors.
His innings included 13 fours and three sixes.
One of his sixes was a thundering straight drive which hit a ground light stand on the full and another ended up on the bike track after a heave over backward square from the broad-shouldered veteran.
And to cap off a day he will never forget, Williams took 1-27 from five overs with the ball.
It included the scalp of Stuart Rose, who was caught behind from Williams' first delivery as a Casino representative player.
Rose had looked in fine touch - he belted six fours on his way to 31.
"It was my best day of batting and I really enjoyed it," Williams said.
"I was just so grateful to be given a chance to play representative cricket from the local competition and the boys made a good impression on me.
"With the ball, Stuart was teeing off so I just thought 'I'll try and put one on off stump' and he went for it."
Williams came to the crease with his side in trouble at 6-89 but with Wade Sweeney (40), the pair's 136-run partnership got their side out of danger.
"His (Williams') performance) just shows what Casino is all about," the Cavaliers club president and Casino rep teammates Myles McDowell said.
"We welcome new players who want to have a go."
Meanwhile, at Ballina's Fripp Oval, the hosts slumped to a three-wicket loss to Tweed.
Ballina set the visitors 210 to win thanks to strong efforts from Darren Wright (79) and Nathan Collins (68).
Tweed were 7-132 in reply before an impressive eighth-wicket partnership of 80 between Bryan Wirth (54 not out) and Chris Moase (23 not out) got them home with four overs to spare.
"We still had 80 runs to get when I came in but I just told myself we still had plenty of overs to go," Wirth said.
Ballina captain Brett Crawford said losing key off-spinner Jeewan De Silva to a hamstring injury while batting had not helped his side.
"We lost 10 good overs as a result," he said.