WORLD CHAMPION: Greg Mears has returned to the Clarence Valley a three-time world series indoor cricket champion after dominating the competition in England.
WORLD CHAMPION: Greg Mears has returned to the Clarence Valley a three-time world series indoor cricket champion after dominating the competition in England. Matthew Elkerton

Third world title the sweetest of them all for Mears

INDOOR CRICKET: When Tucabia-Copmanhurst veteran Greg Mears stood for the Australian national anthem on English soil the hairs on the back of his neck stood with him.

It was a memorable moment for the Australian Indoor Cricket Over 50s representative as he readied himself for the World Indoor Cricket Federation's Masters World Series at the Action Indoor Cricket Arena in Birmingham.

But even the confident batsman could not have predicted the domination his Over 50s would taste as they went undefeated to become one of four Australian sides crowned world champions.

It was Mears' third time representing his country in international indoor cricket action across a 15-year span but only the first time he had done so outside Australia's borders.

"It was fantastic, once they did the opening ceremony and the anthem starts playing you just get tingles all over and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, it is an amazing feeling," Mears said.

"It was a real special occasion representing my country overseas. It also capped off a few milestones for me - I was in the first ever Australian Over 35s team, the first Over 45s side and now the first Over 50s side to play in a World Series."

But according to the 51-year-old this tournament was the most special as he got to be right in the thick of things for the grand final against South Africa.

Mears, along with good friend Philip Broadhead, did not relinquish their wicket as they posted 46 runs in the second skin of the final to help Australia to a insurmountable 155. The Proteas fell well short of the target only managing 59 runs in response for their four partnerships.

"They unfortunately lost one of their better players in the semi-final the night before," Mears said. "We were obviously the fittest team in the competition. We played 10 matches over there and did not look like losing one. We did not worry too much about the opposition teams either. When you worry about what they are doing you forget about your own game."

The elated Mears at the end of the final was a far cry from the man who was on the tarmac about to leave only three weeks beforehand.

"I really had trouble getting on the plane to leave for England," he said. "It was such a long time to spend away from my family back here."

"The support I got from back home was really good. I had my wife Lindy - she is my biggest critic and biggest supporter - she was watching the stream online and telling me where I was going wrong, what I had to change. It was just like being at home."

While it was a long trip back to the Clarence Valley and the jetlag has not quite worn off Mears said the emotion of the moment has had a chance to really sink in.

"It has now sunk in that I am back to reality," he said. "It is something I definitely won't lose for the next three years."

Mears nominated for Clarence Valley Sports Awards   Greg Mears' exploits on the indoor cricket arena saw him win GDSC Senior Sportsperson of the Month in June.   As a result he is in the running to be named Clarence Valley Sportsperson of the Year and the Sports Masters Award as well as the Grafton Shoppingworld People's Choice Award at the Clarence Valley Sports Awards at Grafton District Services Club next Saturday, November 12.   Voting for the People's Choice Award, which carries a $250 voucher at any Grafton Shoppingworld store of choice, closes today (Friday, November 6) at 5pm.     Tickets ($30) to the event must also be purchased by 5pm today (Friday, November 6) at GDSC, Sportspower Grafton and Kanes Sport Yamba and Maclean.



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