THE first sign cricket is just around the corner is the sight of people diving around on sand taking classic catches.
Town Beach was the venue on Wednesday when the Sydney Sixers annual Beach Blast rolled into town to kick off the summer.
More than 100 junior players had a hit, took a catch and then rolled the arm over before they were then educated on how to stay safe at the beach.
Sam Duff was one of those to take a few classic catches alongside friend Abe Whitfield.
“I’ve been playing cricket for a few years and started with Milo Cricket,” he said.
The Port Macquarie youngster said he enjoyed having a hit and bowling a few overs, but wasn’t sure if he would be the next Mitchell Marsh in a few years.
“We’ll see,” he said.
Cricket NSW Mid North Coast development manager Martin Garoni said it was absolutely fantastic to see so many kids running around.
“It’s a great concept,” Garoni said.
“We’re targeting kids that don’t normally play cricket to come to these events and we’re very fortunate we’ve had so many sign up.
“I love seeing the diving and catching in the sand and it’s great to have our surf life saving crew along to teach a few skills about staying safe on the beach.
"We live in such a beautiful part of the country, but we need to be safe when we’re out on the beach as well.”
Garoni always looks forward to the first local cricket event of the summer – it is usually after many months of preparation.
“To see these kids running around and having fun makes all the work you do during the off-season worthwhile to see because it’s what sport and cricket is all about," he said.
With David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft all suspended, the upcoming test series against Pakistan this week and India later in the summer would provide some opportunities.
Garoni said players such as Blues duo Kurtis Patterson and Jack Edwards were two to keep an eye on.
“A few players like Kurtis are there and thereabouts so it will be interesting to see how they go throughout the season,” he said.
“More importantly, we saw Jack Edwards score a hundred in the JLT during the week as an 18-year-old, so there are lots of exciting young players around.
“They’re bringing their flair to the game and hopefully we’ll see more of those in the BBL.”
“It’s probably an exciting time for some of those players because without the issues we’ve had they wouldn’t have got this chance.”
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