The Baggy Blues’ Peter Lesley, left, with former NSW and Australian cricketers Len Pascoe, Steve Rixon, Jeff Thomson and Steve Small.
The Baggy Blues’ Peter Lesley, left, with former NSW and Australian cricketers Len Pascoe, Steve Rixon, Jeff Thomson and Steve Small. SCOTT POWICK

Cricket greats unite at Murwillumbah

AUSTRALIAN cricket greats and once feared fast bowlers Jeff Thomson and Len Pascoe enjoyed their time at Murwillumbah this week.

Thomson, regarded by some as the fastest bowler in the history of the game, and Pascoe, a former Bankstown and NSW teammate, were in town for the first Baggy Blues cricket challenge in a quarter of a century.

The pair played the role of ambassadors and assistant coaches for the Twenty20 match between Tweed and Ballina Invitational XIs at Rabjones Oval.

The match was taken out by the Ballina side, coached by former NSW opening batsman Steve Small and captained by former NSW wicketkeeper Phil Emery.

Ballina won 151 to 146.

Englishman Tom Kohler- Cadmore and opener Tobyn Burvill put on 40 runs before Kohler-Cadmore nicked off to Emery, who made a 10-over cameo behind the stumps for Tweed.

Burvill was the stand-out batsman for Ballina, smashing three fours and two sixes on his way to 36 off just 26 balls, before holing out on the boundary.

Ballina controlled the rest of the innings, piling on 70 runs thanks to Sam Adams (31) and Matt Day (22).

Adams' runs came off just 15 balls, providing the late flurry to get Ballina to 151.

Tweed looked to be cruising towards victory with a 43-run opening stand but then slumped to 5-75.

They recovered to finish just short of the target after their 20 overs.

About 200 spectators saw plenty of big hitting and fast bowling, with Baggy Blues organiser Small saying it was wonderful to be able to bring the concept back after such a long hiatus.

"I thank everyone for their hospitality and it's been great," Small said.

"Cricket is the driver but the community is the important part and we've been buoyed by the fantastic support."

Small said NSW Premier Mike Baird had signed on as an official Baggy Blues patron and, with support also coming from NSW Sport Minister Stuart Ayres, the aim was to now play five fixtures a year after the success of the match at Murwillumbah.



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