Armidale face tough tussle at Tamworth

TAMWORTH’S stand-in captain Nick Pearson is aware of Armidale’s good form so far this summer but hopes his young team can end its unbeaten start to the War Veterans Cup tomorrow.

Armidale leads the competition with three wins from three and can seal a home final if it beats Tamworth at No.1 Oval.

But doing so would be a rare feat.

“It’s a very big game,” Pearson said.

“Armidale have been in form.

“They’ve gone well so far this year.

“We haven’t played them since the twenty20 at the end of last season,”

“But they have some quality players.”

Armidale is missing Adam O’Sullivan and opener Dean Moore but Tamworth is without regular skipper Tom Groth and Simon Norvill.

Captain Andrew Brownlie is the key wicket for Tamworth’s bowlers but Armidale’s batsmen have all contributed over the course of the summer.

“Schaefer is back this week too,” Pearson said.

“They’re all getting runs.

“I don’t know what opposition they’ve faced this year but it will be a test for them, and they will be a test for us.

“It should be a good game.”

Tamworth has a talented team, even if the average age has been dramatically reduced.

“It’s a young side,” Pearson said.

“Matty Everett has the gloves and then there’s Hamish Batley and Leo Steyn, young blokes of that calibre.

“They’ve been playing well in first grade so they deserve their spots.

“Matty has been scoring plenty of runs and Hamish has been hitting the ball cleanly.

“He can hit it a long way.

“He’ll be handy at eight or nine as a pinch hitter for us.”

With a strong batting lineup and a No.1 Oval wicket that should be batsman friendly the target for Tamworth, if it bats first, will be 250 to 300.

Openers Michael Rixon, Adam Lole and number three and four Kris Halloran and Pearson are a formidable lineup for the Armidale bowlers to crack.

“Mick and Lole complement each other,” Pearson said.

“Mick likes to go hard while Lole will bat the 50.

“The rest of us will bat around them.

“Kris is at three so it’s a pretty good top five.”

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.

ARMIDALE: Andrew Brownlie (capt), Michael Dawson, Matt Schaefer, Scott Brennan, Alex Frost, Will Frost, Brad Smith, Steve Butler, Luke Brown, Sam Uphill, Henry Cupitt, Karl Triebe.

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