RYAN Meppem found the perfect way to fine-tune his game for this week’s Kookaburra Cup Country Under 14 Championship in Tuncurry by playing in last week’s Tamworth Under 14 Carnival.
The 13-year-old skipper of the Central North Zone Under 14s was invited to play for Tamworth over the final two days of the carnival.
He certainly made the most of the opportunity despite batting way down at seven on both days.
The top-order batsman was unbeaten on 26 the first day and then topscored with a fine 49 in Friday’s carnival final win over Manning.
He also took 2-1 off three overs of off-spin as well as Tamworth made 142 and then bundled Manning out for 68.
He also ran out Manning’s topscorer with a direct hit.
It was an impressive all- round display from a quietly spoken, confident young man who is about to start Year 8 at Narrabri High School.
He is also about to lead CNZ into a Kookaburra Cup campaign today.
“We’ve got a good side,” Meppem said during the Tamworth Under 14 Carnival.
“We’ve got a good batting lineup with a lot of depth.
“And we have a good pace attack.
“It’s good to have Lockie available.”
Lockie is Tamworth paceman Lachlan Davidson who suffered two hairline fractures of the jaw playing for Bective East second grade two Saturdays ago.
He has been passed fit by his doctor.
While Meppem skippers the side, his father Tony is one of the assistant coaches for coach Kel Walls.
“We’re pretty confident,” Tony Meppem said.
“Now that Davo’s right we do have a really good all round side.
“We bat all the way down.”
And if Tony Meppem is a little nervous today it’s not because of the cricket but because a horse he is a part owner of goes around at Gunnedah’s Riverside Racecourse.
Tony is one of 11 Narrabri people in the Narrabri Golfers Syndicate that races gelding Equiano.
The gelding, trained by Jeff Englebrecht at Muswellbrook, soon to be Wyong, has won twice so far for the Narrabri Golfers, one of which was a maiden win at Gunnedah.
Today it races in the Sutton Family Arthur Gore Memorial Benchmark 55 Handicap (1600m) at Riverside. It is race 5 and timed to go at 4.25pm.
Equiano jumps from barrier three with Leanne Henry on board but comes up against a good field including recent Armidale Spring Cup winner Jurassic Star and Wallabadah Cup winner
CNZ KOOKABURRA CUP SIDE: Ryan Meppem capt (Narrabri), Trent Park vc (Maitland), Coby Cornish (Narrabri), Cade Crust (Scone), Lachlan Davidson (Tamworth), Beau Harris (Muswellbrook), Jacob McCormick (Denman), Scott Palombo (Moree), Tom Scoble (Inverell), Aaron Sherritt (Maitland), Nathan Trindall (Narrabri), Jaiden Tasker (Inverell). Coaches - Kel Walls, Tony Meppem, Paul Park.