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Young teams pitch in

PAINT TIME: Claudia Tran, 11, of Sydney East, framed by her team-mates as they apply sunscreen before taking part in the Primary School Sports Association cricket carnival in Lismore.
PAINT TIME: Claudia Tran, 11, of Sydney East, framed by her team-mates as they apply sunscreen before taking part in the Primary School Sports Association cricket carnival in Lismore. Marc Stapelberg

MORE THAN 150 budding cricket stars have landed in the region, facing off in the NSW Primary Schools Sport Association Girls' Cricket Carnival.

Thirteen teams made up of 12 players selected from their region's primary schools, plus another couple of hundred supporting family members, teachers, coaches and officials, have travelled from all over the state to compete in the four-day carnival that started yesterday.

Convenor for the carnival Peter Allen said it always brings a huge buzz, wherever it's held.

"The thing that I've noticed is that the talent gets better and better each year," Mr Allen said.

"We see so much untapped potential."

And with current Test team cricketers such as Ellyse Perry, Sarah Coyte and Alyssa Healy having begun their competitive career in this very carnival years ago, Mr Allen said, there's always an eye out for the next star.

Tara Thomas, 10, and Claudia Tran, 11, have travelled far to compete in the Sydney East regional team.

The girls were thoroughly excited to be playing in the big league, as they saw themselves as near beginners.

"This is my first time playing cricket (competitively) so it's pretty cool I get to play for Sydney East," Tara said.

While both girls enjoy "everything" about cricket, they admit they both enjoy fielding more than batting.

"I'm a better bowler than batter," laughed Tara.

The team spirit among the 13 teams of young girls was evident in the hot sun, as the girls and their families battled the sun to stay on the sideline, cheering on and supporting their team.

And it's not just the team spirit that's good for Lismore.

With officials from the carnival estimating a $200,000 windfall for the town where the event is held each year, things are looking good for Lismore.

Tourism co-ordinator from Lismore and Nimbin Tourism, Mitch Lowe, agreed with this estimation and enthused that the carnival was a fantastic event.

"Economically it's great for the region," he said.

"Lismore's got a reputation for great sporting facilities, so if we can attract events that are state or nationwide, it's an economic boon."

The final of the NSW PSSA Girls' Cricket Carnival will be held on Thursday at Oakes Oval, followed by the announcement of the 12 girls selected to form the state team to compete at the national carnival.



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