COUNTRY CRICKET: A brilliant century by captain Jake Kroehnert set up Clarence River's dream start to the McDonalds Country Cup.
Playing against Lismore at Grafton's Ellem Oval, where the final of the statewide knockout competition will be played on December 30, Kroehnert came in at 1 for 11 and scored 102 with the score at 6 for 175 when he was dismissed.
He hit 18 boundaries in his innings and survived a couple of dropped catches.
Veteran umpire Jeff Hackett, who was standing in the game, said the innings was one of the best he had seen in a representative fixture.
"He was hitting the ball sweetly and finding the boundary at will," Hackett said.
Kroehnert's innings set up some late order hitting from Adam Elliott (43no), Brayden Pardoe (37) and Brad Chard (14no), which included a pair of sixes, to post a competitive score of 7 for 274.
Lismore started its run chase in reasonable fashion with Lachlan Barnes (57) the mainstay at number three. Several others made starts but the lack of a substantial partnership and runrate pressure eventually took its toll, with Barnes eventually run out by a superb direct hit from 15-year-old Eli Fahey in his debut for the open representative side.
At the 40-over mark Lismore's required runrate had slipped above ten per over, and tight bowling from spearhead Brad Chard (0 for 23 off 10) in his final spell ensured Lismore's tail never came close, finishing 61 runs short at 9 for 213.
It was an impressive representative debut from Brothers off spinner Andy Kinnane, who netted 3 for 48 off his 10. The other player on debut, Elliott, succumbed to a hamstring injury in the field, deepening the woes of his club side Coutts Crossing who are already without their other two strike bowlers Zac Page and Taj Dosanh through injury.
Clarence River will take on Tweed in the next round at Reg Dalton Oval in Kingscliff on Sunday, November 6.
This Sunday, October 30, marks the first round of the North Coast Cricket Council inter-District Competition with Clarence River set to take on arch rivals Lower Clarence at Ulmarra Showground.