YOUNG Bective-East wicketkeeper Matt Everett is the replacement gloveman for NSW Country keeper Tom Groth in Sunday’s crucial War Veterans Cup top-of-the-table clash with Armidale in Tamworth.
Everett has done the job before and is well accustomed to filling in for Groth, who began the CBA Australian Country Cricket Championship in Bundaberg yesterday.
He even moved from Groth’s South Tamworth club in the last off-season to the Bulls so as he could keep regularly as well as improve his batting.
Armidale head the WVC (20) from Tamworth (15), Gunnedah (14) and Narrabri (4) entering Sunday’s penultimate round. Gunnedah host Narrabri in Gunnedah on Sunday in a game they need to win to keep their hopes alive.
A win for Armidale and Tamworth at Tamworth’s No 1 would guarantee a February 17 Final spot, something Tamworth selector Adam Jones said was the main focus of the weekend.
“It’s a big game for both sides,” Jones told The Leader.
“Especially now it’s a straight final with number 2 v 3 playoff. You’ve got to win and if we can then we can finish top and get the home ground advantage.
“And we don’t want to go to Narrabri in the final round needing to win to stay alive. Narrabri are always hard to beat out there. We need to cement our spot on Sunday.”
He said Matt Everett comes in for Tom Groth while the only other player unavailable, at this stage, is Simon Norvill.
Nick Pearson, who is coping with a knee injury, will captain the side in Groth’s absence.
Like Everett, it’s a job he has done in the past.
He will also skipper the Northern NSW Emus in two games against the visiting Canterbury NZ side in Tamworth and Armidale on January 13/14/15.
He’s also down to skipper the Central North Under 21s at the Country Colts Carnival in Wollongong at the end of the month.
“Nick will captain a strong, young side,” Jones added.
“I’m sure he’ll get them up for this match. It’s probably one of the most important games we’ve played in the WVC for a long while.”
TAMWORTH: Michael Rixon, Adam Lole, Kris Halloran, Nick Pearson (capt), Leo Steyn, Hamish Batley, Aaron Hazlewood, Matt Everett, Luke Paterson, Mitch Holt, Angus McNeil, Jack McVey.
o While Jones was able to name the Tamworth side he and his Bective Bulls have a big game against City United at Riverside 2 in their first game of the Northern Inland Credit Union Tamworth first grade competition.
The One Day game is the start of a post-Christmas rush to the finals.
Adam Jones said the teams have been jockeying for position before Christmas.
“Now we’re in the home straight,” he said.
“There’s only a half dozen games left. This is when we need to start playing well, winning and being consistent.”
In the other two NICU Tamworth first grade games Souths play West at No 1 Oval and Old Boys host North Redback at Dick Edwards Oval.