ALL STAR CAST: Lawrence mates reunite for LCCA showdown
GOOD luck stopping Lawrence Cricket Club from winning the Lower Clarence First Grade premiership in 2020/21.
With new names like Nathan Ensbey, Doug Harris, Ben Hill, Luke Many, Ben Shaw and Andrew Davison on the books, the club’s first XI would not look out of place in the North Coast Premier League competition.
Instead, the all star cast has been assembled in a bid to win a title that has so far eluded Lawrence.
However, the ‘coup’ is not a result of underhanded dodgy dealings, offers of sheep stations, or cane farms for that matter. It’s merely the product of old mates - most on the wrong side of 40 - reuniting to have a good time.
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Ensbey, who will captain the team, played junior cricket and went to Grafton High School with most of the newcomers, which also reportedly include his cousin Craig Ensbey and Adam Bancroft coming out of retirement for the season.
“It’s an opportunity for a few mates to get together and have a game,” Ensbey said.
“We’ve all got ties to Lawrence. Most of us in this team are actually living in Lawrence now. Myself, Doug and Davo all moved here in the past 12 months and Lukey Many is running the Lawrence Tavern which is our major sponsor.”
For Ensbey, it will be a return to his junior club for the first time since Under-14s, and the end of a dynasty with Harwood which started in 1995 and reached a pinnacle when he captained the side to win the inaugural North Coast Premier League title over Sawtell in 2018/19.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be there from the inception of Premier League and have enjoyed some successful years at Harwood, and a pretty good run most recently,” he said.
“To finish it off with a major premiership in the Premier League was a highlight for myself and the team.”
But now the focus of the Clarence Valley’s most accomplished cricket captain turns to Lawrence this Saturday, with a mix of seriousness and lighthearted banter.
“We’ve been training really hard,” he said.
“Davo will be our keeper and he’s been looking sharp behind the stumps.
“Benny Hill’s been looking magnificent with the bat, so I’m hoping for a big year from him. He will open the bat, and Doug Harris will bat six.”
With the new faces added to a talent pool that includes existing players Nathan Anderson, Jarrod Ensbey, Simon Harrison and Luke Moloney, Lawrence will be a force to be reckoned with.
Their first match is against Yamba at Barry Watts Oval in Maclean this Saturday, while Harwood hosts Iluka and two-time defending premiers Maclean United take on First Grade newcomers Woodford Island Warriors at Yamba Oval.
“It’s exciting to have a run in a different comp,” Ensbey said.
“I couldn’t tell you a thing about (Warriors), which is one of the intriguing challenges for me - I don’t know too much about any of the teams.”
The added depth at Lawrence means the club has grown from two to three teams, with one in each grade.
A total of 18 teams have nominated to play in the Lower Clarence competition this season, with six teams in First Grade, five in Second Grade and seven in Third Grade.
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