No holiday for cricket
By GLEN SCOTT
AND then there were 16.
The Tweed District representative cricket side will shake off festive hangovers and bloated bellies to board a bus at 6am on Boxing Day, chasing glory in the prestigious SCG Country Cup.
The SCG Country Cup is a NSW statewide knock-out competition, which began with 60 district teams throughout country NSW in October.
Tweed qualified after beating Ballina, Casino and Lismore.
The three-day carnival will start on December 27, finishing with the semi-final on December 29.
Despite the huge ask for his team, who will have to cope with a 1900km round-trip to Dubbo, coach Gerry Keyte expects everybody to tune out of holiday mode straight away.
"We have to travel further than any other team, and going away on Boxing Day has hamstrung players with a family, but these sacrifices have to be made," Keyte said.
"We have never gotten this far before, so if everyone isn't 100 per cent committed, we needn't bother getting on the bus."
Tweed will play Dapto on the first day, and if successful meets the winner of Keira and Newcastle City and Suburbs on December 28.
The last two undefeated teams play the final on January 29 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The prizemoney starts at $500 and reaches $12,000 for the winner, with the runner-up netting $6000.
Keyte wants a piece of that action, but not to refill the empty pockets of his players, thanks to generous sponsors.
"If it wasn't for our sponsors like Planit Consulting, the Coolangatta Hotel and Rory Curtis Good Guys, funding us for clothing and transport costs, we probably wouldn't be able to make it," he said. "They've been great."
Keyte expects several players to stand tall in Dubbo.
"The withdrawal of Joel Walle aside, this is the best possible 13 we could have picked," he said.
"This side has no weaknesses. Cudgen keeper Jamie Wilson is the best in the Tweed and Gold Coast competitions in my opinion and Jason Wilson has big match experience after playing for Tweed against NSW a few seasons back."
TWEED: Craig Wilson (captain), Terry Wilson, Heath Wilson, Jamie Wilson, Chris Moase, Damien King (all Cudgen); Paul Dhillon, Michael Anderson (Pottsville), Jason Fletcher, Jason Wilson (Colts), Ryan Willoughby, Leigh Baker (Terranora) and Aaron Chapman (Murwillumbah).