ARMIDALE is set to explode with Twenty20 action this Australia Day weekend.
It starts tonight with the opening round of the 2012-2013 Armidale Premier League Twenty20 competition.
Then tomorrow – Australia Day – the local competition Twenty20 champions will be decided, with Hillgrove Colts and Easts to fight it out for the first grade honours.
The attention first though will be on the Premier League, where Hutchinson and Harlow Real Estate and Armidale Sportspower, and Buttercup & Ace Embroidery and ADDA Constructions will match-up.
Buttercup is a new franchise this season and will be skippered by Cam Mundy.
He had first pick at the draft and went for paceman Karl Triebe.
Josh Croft (Hutchinson and Harlow) was next and opted for batsmen Dean Moore with all-rounder Bentley Cropper then going to ADDA (Matt Schaefer).
Sportspower skipper Brad King was the last to select and went for districts skipper Andrew Brownlie.
“Brownlie brings a bit of experience and stability with the bat,” King said.
As the last to pick, he then got to go first in the second round and snapped up Luke Brown.
“He’s a good hitter and awkward character with the ball,” he said.
He finished with a pretty handy attack with Brown, Sean Brennan, Henry Cupitt and Andrew Skinner to lead it.
King said Skinner could be a bit of an x-factor.
He’s a good death bowler and will be handy in the last few overs.
“He bowls full and straight,” he said.
Skinner is also handy with the bat.
The dark horse could be Jason Boland, especially in the night games.
“He’s a bit skiddy,” King said.
“As the wicket gets dewy and wet it tends to skid on a bit quicker.”
Cody Graham will keep and is another “good hitter”.
King said the four sides looked pretty even.
“They all look good on paper but you don’t play on paper,” he said.
“It all depends on who fires on the four weeks that we play.”
He’s hoping Moore doesn’t tonight.
“He’s always a dangerous bat when he opens,” he said.
“He can take the game away in the first five or six overs or you can put pressure on them if you can get him out early.”
That will be the plan tomorrow too, with Moore one of the keys for Easts.
“He’s a big wicket to get and could be the difference between a 120 score and 190 score,” King said.
Matt Preston is another player whose influence they’ll be looking to limit.
“He scored 50 last week and looked pretty dangerous against us,” he said.
“He can get quick runs and is a good yapper behind the stumps.”
Hillgrove took the honours last time they met by 20 runs.
The first game tonight is at 5.30pm, with the second getting underway at 8pm.