NORTH Tamworth Redbacks and Bective-East Bulls go head to head under the No 1 Oval lights in the first round of one- day Northern Inland Credit Union matches today chasing the top spot.
Reigning premier South Tamworth currently leads the first grade table but does so by just 1.06 points from the second-placed Redbacks, with the Bulls just a further 3.78 points away in third.
The two sides are coming off contrasting efforts in last round matches.
While the Redbacks beat City United by 39 runs in their two-day clash, the Bulls are coming off a 93-run loss to Souths.
Chasing 312, they were all out for 219, with Nick Foster (79) and skipper Nick Pearson (75) notching half centuries.
The Bulls welcome back talented top order bat George Rixon and his brother Jack to bolster the batting while Jarrard Abra will spearhead a bowling attack which also features teenage spinner Luke Paterson and left arm medium pacer Ted Alderton.
North Tamworth’s bowling has also been strengthened by the recent return of representative star Adam Greentree.
He claimed 5-47 from his 18 overs in last Saturday’s win over City United, an amazing effort according to Redbacks teammate Kris Halloran.
“First game back (from injury) and he takes a five-for off 18 overs and it included eight maidens as well,” Halloran said.
“He would have kept going but for cramps. He said he is still a little unfit but is fitter than most of us.
“It’s great to have him back. He’s a bowler who puts all six balls on the spot.
“We’ve got some good quick bowlers like Hamish (Batley) and Leggy (Ben Legge) but they might give one or two an over to hit.
“He gives them nothing. I reckon if we’d have had him for that game against Wests (loss) we would have more than likely won it.”
Halloran said matching up against Bective under lights provides an interesting backdrop with the 3.30pm start.
“I hope we win the toss and bat.
“I don’t want to field in that heat (40 degree prediction).
“But the ball always swings at night too down there.”
FIRST GRADE TABLE: Souths 39.49 Norths 38.43 Bective 34.65 Wests 28.77 City United 19.73 Old Boys 18.22.
CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP: Souths 371.10 Norths 354.27 City United 342.50 Wests 330.54 Bective 285.96 Old Boys 247.93.
NORTH TAMWORTH: Michael Rixon (capt), Adam Lole, Kris Halloran, Leo Steyn, Don Lewington, Joe Holt, Kyle Wells, Hamish Batley, Jack Cameron, Ben Legge, Adam Greentree.
BECTIVE-EAST: Nick Pearson, Adam Jones, Nick Foster, James Haling, Matt Everett, George Rixon, Jack Rixon, Kahlan Duncan, Luke Paterson, Jarrard Abra, Ted Alderton.