AUSTRALIA Day will be celebrated at Fripp Oval Ballina this year with an Indigenous cricket match, played between the host team the Bullinah Bears and the Lismore Boomerangs.
It is the second year Bears have hosted the cricket day with hopes of expanding it into a regular competition on the Far North Coast.
"The Ballina Bears Cricket Club encourage and support Indigenous cricket wherever possible and January 26 will be no different, with an exciting day planned and fantastic cricket talent on show" Ballina Bears president Phil Melville said.
"Commemorative playing shirts have been designed and a great day is expected."
The fixture will be a 20-over format with big shots, exciting fielding and accurate bowling on show, with another strong and energetic crowd expected to attend.
"The Ballina Bears Club are in negotiations with the relevant North Coast Lands Councils and hopefully soon there will be an Indigenous Lands Council Cricket Competition, male, female and junior," Melville said.
"This game will hopefully become an annual event, as well as creating interest to trigger other towns to become involved in the future.
"The club's overall aim is to create a local model that involves respective Lands Council`s throughout the North Coast and a competition that would produce a North Coast winner.
"Then this team may proceed through to a regional competition and eventually a NSW champion team.
"Our aim is to perfect our planned model then promote it throughout NSW.
"We believe there is untapped talent out there and hopefully we can assist in providing opportunities for some of these potential superstars.
"If successful this model would suit better as NSW Imparja Cup team selection criteria for National Indigenous Championships."
Team selections are being finalised currently and the teams will be announced soon.
The teams will be competing for a specially designed trophy and of course year long bragging rights.
There will be traditional ceremonies conducted on the day and everyone is welcome to enjoy such a significant day in such a significant way.
"Hopefully the match at Fripp Oval will be the stepping stone to bigger and better things in the future," Melville said.
Bears have a long history of promoting Indigenous cricket.
They hosted and co-ordinated the Far North Coast Cricket Camp as part of the Bundjalung Cricket Festival.
At the peak of its popularity they were able to attract 40 kids and played in local carnivals.
Stewart Kapeen has emerged as one to watch at the Bears in recent years.
The wicket keeper is in the Far North Coast junior academy and has been earmarked to play in the LJ Hooker League competition.
Food and beverages will be available on the day, any enquiries can be directed to Phil Melville on 0434 631 340.
Spectators and visitors are welcome to attend free of charge.