Sports editor on a good wicket with bet and ball
THE Clarence Valley's already thrown up its share of fun and games during my first two weeks as sports editor at the DEX.
Like all Australian country towns, sport is the major player in the social fabric and my impression is that Grafton is even more so.
It's not a bad wicket to be able to convey the ongoing commentary of a sporting community's most colourful characters, and thus far I've been made to feel welcome.
I've tried to check out the scene from ground level - joining Supa Oldies Soccer and having a go in the Jacaranda Fun Run.
Terry Bryan, Mal Tilse and the lads found me a place at Coutts Crossing Cricket Club and I enjoyed my first game on Saturday.
Joining a mix of blokes aged 12 to 67, the high-spirited third grade game was what cricket's all about.
And it included a personal highlight. Skip Phil Orchard threw me the rock and, afraid the prevailing Wooli doctor (or was it the Braunstone Breeze?) would aid cow corner slogs down the Lords-like slope, opted for mediums over my usual nude off-breaks.
Suffice to say a 10-ball over was rescued by two whippy stumpings from Clarence Valley mayor Richie Williamson - I'm guessing the only reason I was afforded another over.
I reverted to my slightly more controlled off darts. Via a gremlin in the pitch, debatable bump ball and a straight one, I had 5 for 13, including 9 extras, off 3.1 overs. And lo and behold, in my CRCA debut, after 24 years loyally donning the whites, had my first five-fer.
As for the wides - it happens to the best of us - former Australian under-19 representative Brad Chard bowled 24 of them in his otherwise impressive return of 4 for 49 for Clarence Valley on Sunday.
My luck continued in the newsroom. After helping organise the office Melbourne Cup $2 sweep, I drew out first, second and third. Suffice to say, I collected $48 for my winning trifecta, compared to a potential $3.6k on the tote.
And it doesn't end there - an in-house grudge match between myself and sportsdesk colleague Matt McInerney takes place this Tuesday when our teams go head-to-head in six-a-side soccer.