NORTH Tamworth Redbacks and reigning premiers South Tamworth are primed for a major clash in Saturday’s final round before the Christmas break.
It’s a vital game at Riverside 2 for both.
The Redbacks lead the One Day and NICU Tamworth first grade premiership competitions as well as the club championship.
South is equal second in the One Day competitions but outright second in the Tamworth first grade premiership.
The reigning premiers also welcome back skipper Tom Groth after he missed last Saturday’s win over the Bective Bulls.
Groth has a busy representative period coming up.
He was Country player of the year last season and will be the NSW Country keeper when it plays in the Australian Country Cricket Carnival in Bundaberg from January 2 to 14.
He’s not the only South Tamworth player looking at a big representative start to the New Year.
James Psarakis will also captain the Central North Under 16s in their Bradman Cup title defence in Nowra from January 7.
He topscored for South in last week’s win over Bective is and a major cog in the side’s top order.
Young Muswellbrook paceman Angus McNeil also won a berth in the CNZ Under 21s to play in the Country Colts Carnival in Wollongong from January 26.
At the Redbacks, it’s not as busy representative-wise for the club but it is on something of a high, spokesman Don Lewington said.
“I don’t think we have anyone at big carnivals early in the New Year,” Lewington said.
“Kris (Halloran) has the Imparja Cup (in Alice Springs) in February but that’s about it.
“Leo (Steyn) missed out on the 21s too.
“It’s been a pretty positive start to the season for the club though.
“We’re leading both first and second grade and the club championship.
“And we’ve been promoting our young players too.
“Our first grade side is the youngest it’s probably ever been.
“Hamish (Batley) has really stood up.
“He won the game for us recently against West with that amazing innings.
“The great thing is that we have Adam Greentree back.
“It’s a real blessing as he can control a game for you.
“So it’s all looking positive.”
He said the South match was a crucial one.
“If we win we can create a bit of a gap on the rest of the field and create a little buffer at Christmas.
“If South wins, it can make up some points on us.
“But we are also playing some pretty good one-day cricket too.”
In the other first grade clashes, Old Boys tackle City United at No 1 Oval while West Tamworth plays Bective Bulls at Dick Edwards Oval.
SOUTH TAMWORTH: Tom Groth (capt), Josh Crowe, Troy Osborne, James Psarakis, Ethan Sherlock, Rory Dempsey, Chris Skilton, Col Smyth, Greg Parkinson, Angus McNeil, Sam McHugh & Jake Everett.
NORTH TAMWORTH: Michael Rixon (c), Adam Lole, Kris Halloran, Leo Steyn, Joey Holt, Hamish Batley, Don Lewington, Mitch Holt, Jack Cameron, Adam Greentree, Jason Stacpoole, TBA.
TAMWORTH ONE DAY TABLE: North 33, Bective 20, South 20, Old Boys 12, West 7, City 6.
OVERALL: North 59.43, South 52.49, Bective 41.65, West 35.77, City 25.73, Old Boys 24.22.
CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP: North 474.27, South 465.10, City 461.50, West 411.54, Bective 378.96, Old Boys 338.93.