Lismore cricket tournament to kick-start season
LOCAL cricket will get a shot in the arm ahead of the new season with eight teams contesting the Rous Hotel 16.8 tournament in Lismore this weekend.
The winning team will take home $6000, with the 16.8 format inviting for spectators and players alike.
"The popularity of cricket has suffered and been on the decline a bit in recent years,” event organiser Luke Collings said.
"The shorter (16.8) version is a good way to spark a bit of interest and get people talking about the game.
"All players get to bat and bowl and it's probably the most exciting format in cricket - even better than Twenty20.
"It's definitely something people can come to watch and it's a good way to start the season.”
The format has eight players per team playing innings of 16 overs.
Everyone bats and bowls and there are a few other tweaks to the rules to keep players and spectators entertained.
Each over a batsman can nominate a superball which is worth double runs.
The tournament is being organised by the Marist Brothers Cricket Club, with most of the players coming from the Far North Coast LJ Hooker League teams.
Ballina Bears won the event last year and are back to defend the title with Grafton and Lismore team Farmer Charlies expected to go well.
"A lot of Marist Brothers boys are in the Farmer Charlies team and they'll have guys like Brad Cleaver, Sam Martin and Brendan Mitchell,” Collings said.
"Grafton are a bit of an unknown and the Tweed teams are always strong.
"Some clubs use it as a bit of a pre-season trial and it's a decent amount of cash to be able to split in a team.”
Games will be played at Blair Oval, Heaps Oval, Mortimer Oval and Oakes Oval from 9am.
Each team will play four games before the finals tomorrow.
Rous Hotel has sponsored the event both years along with the Lismore City Council.