ARMIDALE was still waiting on a ruling yesterday as to whether young batsman Will Frost would be allowed to play for Armidale in tomorrow’s War Veterans Cup match at Narrabri.
The 17-year-old chose to forgo playing in the Northern Inland Under 21s side at Scone to join his Armidale teammates at Collins Park but has been named to play in the Central North Colts trial and may be forced to take his place in that team.
The rules say a player must fulfil junior rep duties ahead of senior games but Armidale skipper Andrew Brownlie said his association was trying to get dispensation for Frost.
“It’s a tough call for him,” Brownlie said.
“If he goes down there and does well and gets picked, good on him.
“But if he’s not that keen to play in the 21s he shouldn’t be forced.
“He’s only 17.
“We’ll do whatever they tell us but it makes it hard for us if we have to find another player to replace him.”
Armidale is already fielding two rep sides tomorrow, with the Dumaresq Colts at home to Glen Innes, and losing Frost would mean the association would have to dig deeper into its player pool.
Brownlie himself has a replacement on standby because his wife is expecting their second child at any time, but for now he is in the team.
Experienced trio Matt Schaefer, Adam O’Sullivan and Stephen Butler are all out but Armidale is unbeaten this season and still has a handy side.
“It’s a decent side,” Brownlie said.
“Dean (Moore) and (Michael) Dawson are batting well at the top.
“Alex Frost is back in the side.
“He played last year and played well, especially two years ago when he averaged about 45 with the bat in rep cricket.
“Hugh Reckord is a good young player and plays with me at club level.
“He had a good knock last week in club cricket of 47 not out against Easts.
“He’s a fantastic fielder as well.
“Any Armidale side that is missing (Matt) Schaefer and (Adam) O’Sullivan is not going to be as strong but it’s still a competitive side.”
The opening bowling attack is intact but Brownlie has lost a couple of slow bowling options.
“We’ll miss having Sully to burgle a few overs and we won’t have Butler,” Brownlie said.
“I’ll probably have to bowl 10 but Scott Brennan can bowl offies as well.”
Armidale beat Narrabri by six wickets in the Country Shield earlier this summer.
But that was in Armidale and the home side batted particularly well that day.
It might not be so easy at Collins Park.
“The pitch is slow and the outfield is slow,” Brownlie said.
“If we can get anywhere near 200, and we’ve never got near it before, we’ll be very competitive.
“Narrabri is very hard to play at Narrabri.
“They play there week in, week out and they know the conditions.
“They have a few big hitters too and it’s not a massive ground.
“The last time I played there they were going at 10 an over at the start.
“They were 80 at first drinks and we were in trouble because we only got 160.
“They smashed us.”
Narrabri has had a pretty good record at home against Armidale and is pretty keen to return the favour after that first-round loss.
There wasn’t too much they did wrong that day.
“Batting-wise, I couldn’t have been happier. 240 would win you most games,” Narrabri skipper Lachie Cameron said.
“We probably just didn’t get the length right with the new ball. That hurt.”
Brownlie and O’Sullivan really punished them.
“It’s about getting a bit of control with the new ball,” Cameron said.
He’s confident though they can get that right.
They were still finalising their side yesterday, needing a replacement for Chris Holland after he was named in the Northern Inland colts side.
ARMIDALE: Andrew Brownlie (c), Dean Moore, Henry Cupitt, Karl Triebe, Will Frost, Alex Frost, Brad Smith, Hugh Reeves, Michael Dawson, Sam Uphill, Hugh Reckord, Scott Brennan.
NARRABRI: Lachie Cameron (c), Daniel Kahl, Shane Murphy, Luke Meppem, Josh Trindall, Shane Smith, Jake Packer, Michael Miskle, Trevor Parminter, Sandeep Singh, Brady Jenkins. One to be added.