LONG before he became a key figure in the recent Ashes revival, Australian opening batsman David Warner had his first taste of junior representative cricket in Lismore.
Warner is at the top of a list of current state and Australian players who have played in the Lismore Workers Club Under-12 carnival.
Twenty teams will take part in the four-day carnival next month.
"I don't think in our wild-est dreams we ever thought it would become this big," carnival co-ordinator John McMahon said.
"It started with only four teams and gradually grew."
Clunes cricketer and former NSW middle-order batsman Matthew Phelps played in the inaugural carnival 30 years ago.
"We only recently realised Matthew Phelps played in the first carnival.
"That means three local players (also Brendan Drew and Tom Cooper) have gone on to play at a high level."
There will be another first at the carnival this season with one of the four Far North Coast teams being an Under-14 girls line-up.
About 300 players will attend the carnival.
North Shore were a new addition last summer and won the final.
FNC last won it in 2007 before Central Coast won five straight, sharing it with Illawarra when the final was washed out in 2011.
"It will be the first carnival where a full girls team has played in the carnival," McMahon said.
Lismore Workers Club and Lismore City Council have been the major sponsors of the event for a number of years, helping makeit the biggest Under-12 carnival on the east coast of Australia.
It will start on Tuesday, January 7, with an Under-13 carnival running in Ballina about the same time.
Veteran English cricket commentator and sports journalist Henry Blofeld will speak at a dinner function on the Wednesday night organised by the Lord's Taverners Northern NSW branch.
Tickets are available from email@example.com or from Lismore Cruise and Travel, phone 66212548.
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