GALLERY: Lower too strong for Clarence in junior clash
CRICKET: Coby Tabor set the tone in the opening five overs as Lower Clarence put in a dominant defence of the junior Cotten Shield.
Opening the batting at McKittrick Park, Tabor found the boundary rope 11 times and cleared it once on his way to 57 not out.
He was one of three Lower Clarence batsmen to reach 50 and retire, including Tom Gallagher and Sean McFarlane, before Clarence River took their first wicket with the score at 176.
Riley Wondergem took that wicket, while young seamer Jack Stackman breached the defences of two Lower Clarence batsmen before Corey Lewis (30*) helped push the Lower Clarence total to 3-228 from their 20 overs.
While Clarence River struggled to make inroads into the sizeable target, a positive aspect was their batting side making sure it batted out its allotted overs.
Alby Popko shone with the ball in hand for Lower Clarence taking 3-5 off three overs as Clarence River closed out their innings at 8-45 after 20 overs.
Lower Clarence coach John McFarlane said he was proud with the way his players performed in the heat.
"To have three batsman all reach 50 before retiring is a great effort,” he said. "While there was a lot of boundaries, there was also a lot of good cricket shots in between.”
McFarlane also tipped his hat to the young Clarence River players who all stepped up from under-12s and under-14s to play in the contest.
"They were quite a new team and quite a young team but it was good to see them show a lot of fight out there.
"I know growing up in the juniors the rivalry between the two ends of the river was always strong and Grafton had the wood on us a lot over the years, so it is good to see our association on top.
"It looks like it will be a good couple of years for Lower Clarence juniors.”
The Lower under-16s were narrowly beaten in the interdistrict final last month.