STRONG MAN: Stuart Clark will be  in Grafton today as a guest of local cricketers.
STRONG MAN: Stuart Clark will be in Grafton today as a guest of local cricketers.

CLARKIS STAR TURN

By TIM HOWARD

CLARENCE Valley Cricket Association junior cricketers are in for a treat this afternoon.

NSW Pura Cup winning opening bowler Stuart Clark is the special guest for the CRCA Junior Presentation at the South Grafton High School at 5pm.

Clark, a NSW Speedblitz Blue for the past five seasons, will be the centrepiece of a special feature during the presentation.

Junior committeeman Steve Whitton said there will be a DVD of highlights of Clark's career followed by a question and answer session involving Clark and North Coast Zone development officer Brett Rankin.

Clark will also be available to sign autographs and NSW team posters, which will be available this afternoon.

Clark, who plays for the Manly club in Sydney, but who said yesterday he is about to move to University of NSW next season, has been an integral part of the NSW bowling attack for the past five seasons.

This season he took 40 wickets at an average of around 24 and with left-armer Nathan Bracken formed a spearhead that took the team to a Pura Cup title.

Clark said many cricket pundits had written the Blues off at the start of the season, after losing Steve and Mark Waugh, Michael Slater and Michael Bevan.

"A lot of people outside the team might have written us off, but we were always confident we would be there at the end," Clark said.

"There was a lot of self-belief in the team."

Clark said the nerve-wracking climax to the Pura Cup season was something he didn't want to repeat too often.

"It's great to be on the winning side in those situations, but its tough on the nerves as it's happening," he said.

"Nathan Bracken is a good batsman, and Stuie MacGill has actually scored some valuable runs before for us.

"It was pretty tense, knowing that it would only take one ball for the game to go the other way, but we believed in those guys, that they could do the job for us."

Clark said the Blues and Bulls had a few beers after the game and it was obvious how shattered some Queenslanders were after the game.

"You couldn't help but feel a little bit sorry for them, they've been in this situation a few times recently," Clark said.

Clark said he has not given up hopes of making the Australian Test team after winning selection for Australia A this season.



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