ARMIDALE goes into next week’s Country Shield semi-final against Nowra in Cowra without star allrounder Matt Schaefer – and captain Andrew Brownlie could also be a late withdrawal for the December 29 clash.
The Armidale City allrounder and his wife, Judy, are expecting their second child, Armidale chairman of selectors Brad King said.
King, who is also the team driver and manager for the trip to Cowra, said Brownlie’s unavailability would be a big blow.
“It would be a big loss if he couldn’t go too.
“Sully (Adam O’Sullivan) would probably take over then.”
He said the loss of Schaefer had already left an an immense hole to fill.
“Matty was already booked on a family holiday to New Zealand,” he said.
“He was disappointed about missing it but there wasn’t much he could do about it.
“It was already booked and paid for.
“He’s a big loss, with both bat and ball.
“He can bat at three and then bowl whenever you want.
“However we still have a pretty good side – maybe just lack one quick bowler.”
Armidale’s big win at Narrabri in last Sunday’s War Veterans Cup match, which elevated it to the top of the WVC table, was a massive confidence boost as well.
Beating Narrabri on its home track in 38 degree weather was a good morale boost heading to Cowra.
“It’s a long way to go to lose,” King said, thinking of his bus driving innings.
While they might be short an express pace bowler, they have some in-form pacemen in Sam Uphill and Karl Triebe.
Both have been taking wickets for their club sides while Henry Cupitt can move the new ball around as well.
On the batting front, top order batsmen Michael Dawson, Dean Moore and the expectant dad Brownlie are all topping the Armidale first grade runscoring table.
If Armidale does beat Nowra in their Shield semi, it plays the winner of the Albury Wodonga Colts and Manning in Cowra on December 30.
Any success down south could also help boost the side’s morale for next month’s final WVC rounds.
It currently leads the WVC and plays Tamworth (January 6) and Gunnedah (January 20) in its final two games in Tamworth and Gunnedah.
WAR VETERANS CUP TABLE: Armidale 20, Tamworth 15, Gunnedah 14, Narrabri 4.
ARMIDALE COUNTRY SHIELD (Team to play Nowra in Shield semi final at Cowra on December 29): Andrew Brownlie capt (Armidale City), Adam O’Sullivan (Hillgrove Colts), Michael Dawson (Hillgrove Colts), Dean Moore (Easts), Alex Frost (Easts), Brad Smith (Armidale City), Will Frost (TAS), Luke Brown (Ex-Services), Steve Butler (Armidale City), Karl Triebe (Armidale City), Sam Uphill (Easts), Henry Cupitt (TAS), Hugh Reeves (Hillgrove Colts). Manager - Brad King.