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Ross Kendall

Indigenous cricketers from Lismore and Ballina took to the field on January 26 in a 20×20 game organisers hope will not only become a regular annual fixture, but will also pave the way for an all Indigenous state-wide competition.

The game between the Bullinah Bears and the Lismore Boomerangs was organised with the help of the Ballina Bears Cricket Club and was played at Fripp Oval.

‘All the players had Indigenous heritage with many form Bundjalung country. Many of these can trace their heritage to the local area for many generations,’ Ballina Bears president Phil Melville said.

‘The rivalry was pretty fierce between the teams even though it was played in the best of spirits,’ he said. ‘Lismore went home with the win after scoring 7/186 off their 20 over. In reply the local team got 9/89’.

The game wasn’t about winning or losing but providing more opportunities for local Indigenous cricketers.

An Indigenous game of cricket was played last year and the hope is to make it an annual event.

But more than that Phil would like to see the individual land councils in the greater North Coast area start to play a regular Indigenous competition. Ultimately this model could be repeated across the state with representative sides from each area battling it out to determine a statewide champion.

The Ballina Bears have plenty of Indigenous players in their ranks, but there are still plenty across the state missing out on opportunities, according to Phil.

‘We are every proud to have some many Indigenous people in our club, they are integral,’ he said.

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