Brendan Cleaver and Luke Cox are off to Adelaide with the NSW line-up.
Brendan Cleaver and Luke Cox are off to Adelaide with the NSW line-up. Adam Hourigan

Cyclones pair whips up storm

BRENDAN Cleaver can’t even remember how old he was when he started playing cricket, while Luke Cox began as a late-blooming 12-year-old.

Together the duo will form the Clarence Valley’s contribution to the under-16 NSW Cyclones indoor cricket side at next month’s Australian National Championships in South Australia.

Cox, a Coutts Crossing player in the outdoor format, will captain the side and is also a member of the under-21 NSW squad.

In a bid to raise funds for the $1300 travel costs, the duo is asking for businesses to buy a sponsorship raffle ticket for $25 or $100.

The winning draw will gain naming rights sponsorship to the Cyclones’ team.

Half of the money for the trip must be handed over on Sunday, meaning the pair is running out of time to raise funds.

To even be considered, the boys had to work their way through a tricky selection criteria at Dubbo and then Tamworth. Cleaver, who plays for South Services, was a member of last year’s under-14 state side and is hoping to build on 2009’s disappointing tournament that “didn’t go that well”.

Despite this, Cleaver was chosen as a member of the under-14 All-Stars line-up, an honorary squad.

Cox says his mate is again a likely starter for any representative side chosen at the end of the Australian championships.

“I hope to go all right,” Cox said..

“There’s always the World Cup squad (to aim for) – for Brendan he’s a certainty but me, I’m not so sure.”

“It will be tough.”

An invitation four years ago by Cox’s aunty to start playing cricket – a sport he “didn’t know what it was” – was the 16-year-old’s introduction.

He had previously spent his days taking to the soccer field, but his focus quickly shifted.

“I just practised in the back yard. Everyone else was good so I wanted to be good too,” he said.

Other local products to win a place in the squads are Shannon Connor (under-18s and 21s), Justin Stone (18s), Fiona Copson (women’s open and over-30s), Mark Arandale (over-40s), Luke Chard (open men), Greg Mears (over-45s) and Andrew Firth (over-35s).

Arandale will join Mears and Firth, former and current national representatives, in coaching roles at the titles.

To help with sponsorship, contact Cleaver on 6644 9382 and Cox on 6644 9917.

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