Cricket in good hands
IF YOU ever need a reminder as to how strong Clarence Valley cricket is, you only need to look as far as these seven girls.
The local junior cricketers have all been selected to represent the North Coast at the upcoming country championships.
Being a time when people are saying junior cricket is almost on life support and the future looks bleaker with every season, their selection in these teams should give the local scene a boost.
Grafton juniors Chelsea Cotten, Amy Riddell, Shinae MacDonald and Courtney Fuller will be led by Harwood's Carly Leeson in the under-15 girls team which will travel to Taree tomorrow.
The excited quintet will be playing for a spot in the U15 New South Wales Country team, which will play City later on this year.
Team manager Ann Daniels said it would be a busy few days for the girls.
"We'll be in Taree today and they'll have a training session in the afternoon," Daniels said.
"They'll play Saturday morning and afternoon before another game on Sunday morning.
"(It's) a lot of cricket, but they should do pretty well."
Grace and Naomi McDonald have been given the opportunity of a lifetime after being selected in the Open women's team.
The Brothers Cricket Club pair will line up alongside Yamba's Tiffany Hodson and former Grafton cricketer now NSW Breaker Kara Sutherland in a team captain-coached by Breaker Angela Reakes.
The Opens will play at Port Macquarie, with selection in the NSW Country team also available.
All seven girls play for local clubs, with most stepping up to play senior competition.
"Courtney and Amy both play for Easts and Carly is with Harwood," Daniels said.
"Shinae plays for Tucabia, Chelsea for Souths and the McDonalds for Brothers.
"I think we need to grow girls cricket in the Lower Clarence. I'm not sure how to go about it - I guess we try and get around to the schools and increase the programs."
Riddell, 15, has had plenty of representative experience under her belt in both forms of the game.
She played for North Coast in the Margaret Peden Shield win in February this year, before playing for NSW Cyclones in indoor cricket in July.
She said most of the girls only played together for the Clarence River rep team, and even then would come up against one of this weekend's teammates.
"We only get to play together in the rep teams and we play against Carly," Riddell said.
"It's always fun but she usually wins."