In these dismal days where the integrity of the game has been eroded by the sandpaper of unrelenting professional bastardry, it is good to know that at the grassroots-level cricket can still be played for the right reasons.
If there is still a living, beating heart to the greatest of games, then it resides at the end of a musty and trap-laden corridor deep in the bowels of The Echo building in a deadlocked vault.
Here the Machiavellian minds of The Echo keep their greatest treasures such as the keys to the liquor cabinet, Michael McDonald’s racier chicken photos and the Nick Shand Memorial cricket trophy.
For twenty-one years the guardians of the game have kept fair play, camaraderie, inclusiveness and the pursuit of sporting glory alive through an unbroken line of custodianship.
Unfunded and unafraid, the grass-stained gladiators of the Shand Series will once again tread the hallowed turf of Lomath Oval Mullumbimby despite the damage done to the surface by the numb-groined teenagers who seek their pitiful thrills by doing burnouts on the pitch.
This year the competition has made room for a new team from Lennox Head to join the likes of Main Arm, The Geckos, Left Bank, The Byron Full-Tossers and the Suffolk Swingers, making the Shand a truly Shirewide phenomenon.
This is the comp that caters for everyone from the truly competent to the merely keen and everyone in between, and the aim of the day is to show some skill, test the mettle, have a go and above all enjoy the day.
Participants and onlookers are encouraged to keep track of the action in The Echo and on the Facebook page Shandseriescricket.
This week two experienced teams will pit willow against leather when the Main Armers take on the Geckos.