They may be grey but these ageless veterans can still play
LISMORE'S hardy band of senior cricketers are preparing to stump their Kiwi counterparts during an association's birthday celebrations.
The Lismore Emerging Greys side, which has an average age of over 60, will face trans-Tasman rivals as part of the Canterbury Country Cricket Association's 50th jubilee celebrations.
Formerly known as the Lismore Veterans XI, the side will play three games in and around the South Island town of Rangiora.
Squad player and trip co-organiser Geoff Gaggin said his party, which includes some well-known faces from the Lismore cricket scene, was excited about the trip.
"We cannot wait," he said.
"Our high altitude intensity training for the past few months at tour organiser Keith Doherty's Tregeagle Heights cricket nets, along with regular temperance meetings and a 'finely tuned' fitness program, are all part of our master plan to hit the Rangiora turf full of confidence.
"One of our 'go-to' bowlers, Bernie MacDonald, is an example of what the Kiwis can expect. Bernie's pace has increased considerably lately - so much so that Bernie is now referred to by his team mates as 'Fleetwood Mac'."
The squad, which has played matches throughout the North Coast and in inter-state carnivals for several years, was invited on the trip in recognition of players' past cricketing achievements.
Squad members Gaggin, Graham Rose and Roger Boyd have had previous involvement in the Canterbury area in managing and coaching Northern NSW colts teams in tours across the ditch.
Gaggin said the side's preparations had received some extra help.
"The appointment of Far North Coast baseball stalwart Rick Healy as our travelling fielding coach has been a bonus," he said.
"Rick has been relentlessly grilling us on catching and ground balls.
"I must say, though, it does hurt us to see a grown man cry."
The competition gets started on Wednesday and runs over six days.
The squad: Roger Boyd, Geoff Gaggin, Graham Rose, Ralph Gregory, Keith Doherty, Bill Crane, Glenn Roff, Rick Healy, Greg Pearson, Bernie MacDonald, John Jackson, Dave Henderson, Alan Hubbard, Greg Evans, Paul Trimble.