vivian_richardsThe Master Blaster, West Indian cricket legend Sir Vivian Richards, is coming to Ballina.

Sir Viv will be the guest speaker at a Sportsman’s Dinner at Ballina Seagulls Rugby League Club on February 20, 2010, where he will give a 45-minute talk.

Former Australian paceman Rodney Hogg also will speak on the night.

Ballina Seagulls secured the coup last week. Without advertising the event, it had already sold about 100 tickets by Friday night as not just cricket fans, but sports fans in general, rushed to get tickets.

Such has been the response that the club is considering shifting the venue from inside the club to an outside marquee.

Seagulls Leagues Club can hold a crowd of 140 in comfort, but with the response already received, the club believes it might be worth the extra expense to set up a marquee which could hold as many as 300 guests.

Ballina Seagulls were offered the chance to host Sir Viv after holding a dinner in 2008 featuring Hogg, Doug Walters and David Boon.

The speakers’ representative told secretary-manager Mark Cribb that there was a possibility that Sir Viv would be available in February 2010, and Cribb was informed last week of his availability.

He had no hesitation in accepting the offer.

Sir Viv was a dominant force of the great West Indies teams of the 1970s through to the 1990s. He is the only West Indian captain never to lose a Test series.

He scored 8540 runs in 121 Test matches at an average of 50.23, including 24 centuries. He also scored five centuries in World Series Cricket between 1977-79.

Sir Viv won 27 of 50 matches as a Test captain, and lost only eight.

In 1986 he became the scorer of the fastest-ever Test century, from just 56 balls against England in Antigua.

In 1975 a young Sir Viv helped the West Indies to win the inaugural Cricket World Cup, running out Alan Turner, Ian Chappell and Greg Chappell.

It wasn’t just statistics that made Sir Viv a cricket legend. It was also the way he went about his cricket: a swashbuckling attacking batsman with a never-say-die attitude and fierce competitive streak that often intimidated his opponents.

Tickets to the dinner on February 20 cost $120 and include a two-course meal and some drinks. For bookings, phone Mark Cribb on 6686 8100 or 0401 597 798.