Pommy power coming back to Bears
ENGLISH import Sam Burdock and Lismore all-rounder Jeremy Perkins will return for Ballina Bears in Far North Coast LJ Hooker League cricket this season.
Burdock missed most of last season playing in New Zealand while Perkins returns for the two-day competition after a summer at Marist Brothers.
Bears can start the season on a good note against Murwillumbah which is coming back into the top grade and hosting its first game at Rabjones Oval, Murwillumbah, today.
Ballina coach Phil Melville is excited at his team's prospects after narrowly missing the semi-finals last season.
"Sam is back and we'll have another English import coming into the side,” Melville said. "Jeremy had a few injuries last year and missed some cricket but he's a solid left-arm bowler.”
Top-order batsman Luke Hall takes over the captaincy from Justin Moore while opening batsman Toby Hordern is having a year off.
Moore, a former NSW Country player, is still in the side and will be vital to the Bear's cause.
Murwillumbah will pin its hopes on former Gold Coast Dolphins batsman Vinnie Quigley and former Helensvale grade cricketer Josh Mitchell.
They will be coached by highly-regarded coach and former New South Wales player Grant Parmenter in what will be a younger side.
In other games, Marist Brothers has kept most of its side together from last season and will host the Casino RSM Cavaliers at Neilson Park, Lismore.
Brothers will be without talented teenager Jack Cooper who is now playing on the Gold Coast.
Cooper was part of the Queensland team which went down in the final against NSW at the Under-17 National Cricket Championships in Brisbane on Thursday.
His best performance at the tournament came in the semi-final against Cricket X1 team where he scored 59 not out from opening bat.
Elsewhere, Casino will be without former NSW Country batsman Sam Irvine for the first time in a number of years and will have a young side with Sam Dietrich in his second season as captain.
Tintenbar-East Ballina is almost unchanged from last summer and takes on Cudgen at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina.
And Pottsville hosts Lennox Head at Seabreeze Oval.
Defending premiers Alstonville has the bye.