Future looks bright for cricketing young gun

By Tony White

Promising teenage cricketer Kara Sutherland heads an impressive list of eight Grafton indoor cricketers to have made State representative sides.

Sutherland, 13, is adept at both forms of cricket ? indoor and outdoor.

The daughter of Mandy and Greg Sutherland ? Greg is a former top Clarence Valley cricketer who still plays the indoor game ? is a member of the State Under-16 and Under-18 squads.

Last year Kara was selected as a shadow reserve player for the Australian women's Under-19 squad to tour South Africa.

However, due to her age (12) and other cricket com- mitments ? training camps for the Australian Under-19s and North Coast Under-19 outdoor representative team clashed ? her parents elected to withdraw her from the Australian squad.

But with Kara's obvious cricketing ability, further opportunities for higher honours should come in the near future.

Being selected as a shadow player for the Australian touring team despite her tender age is recognition of her burgeoning talent.

Sutherland heads to Maitland today with the South Grafton High School girls Open cricket team as it continues its charge towards making the State finals.

Later this month Sutherland, who along with Leah McDonald represents the Clarence River Cricket Association Under-12 side, will turn out for North Coast in the CHS Championships at Narrabri.

Sutherland, McDonald, Steffanie Colgrave and Angela Payne are also members of the North Coast Women's Under-19 Youth squad.

Other Grafton indoor women cricketers to make State squads are Amanda Whitby, Melanie Cowan and Ashlea Bates in the Under16 girls team.

Whitby's father, David, has been named coach of the team.

Grafton Indoor Cricket Centre manager and dual CRCA Cricketer of the Year, Andrew Firth, has again been selected in the Men's Over-30 NSW side.

Firth, the second local player behind Greg Mears to make an Australian indoor cricket team, was also named coach of the NSW Under-18 men's squad that will compete in Mackay this year.

"I know a lot of the fellas in the team from my experience playing in the Superleague," Firth said.

"This is my first major coaching role and I'm rapt.

"I've coached sides here (Grafton) over the years and captained the Grafton men's No.1 team for four or five years.

"I've been lucky to learn a lot under previous coaches I've had in State and open sides.

"In 2003 my coach was David O'Keefe from Sydney and Ian Johnston, a member of my Over30s team, was the Opens coach.

"I'm looking forward to the future."

Another promising teenager, Rohan Hackett, has been named in the Under-16 State squad and as a shadow reserve for the Under18 squad.

Chris McClymont has been named in the men's Over-40 team and Brad Moyston as a shadow reserve player in the same squad.

Meanwhile, the Northern NSW Superleague season will start in early April.

Firth said all Grafton players were looking forward to even better results than last year.

Last year, the men's No.1 and No.2 teams were NNSW champions.

Men's No.3 finished fifth, the Over-30s third, the Over-40s fourth, and the ladies team came fifth.

Training will start on March 4. Firth said all players who are available need to return their letters before February 25 so teams can be picked and training can start.

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