NICK Pearson is hoping to finally crack it for a NSW Country Colts title.
This weekend’s carnival in Wollongong will be the Bective-East skipper’s fifth and final Colts campaign and it’s no surprise how he’d like to finish.
“I’d love to win the carnival,” he said.
He’ll lead Central North’s tilt and what looks a fairly strong side on paper.
“It’s very handy,” he said.
“It’s a side with a lot of allrounders.”
“Most of the blokes can bat and bowl.”
He’s spoilt for choice for bowlers and, in Harrison Kelly and Riley Ayre, has two top-notch spinners.
“We’ve got two left-arm orthodox which is great.
“They’ve both played underage for NSW,” Pearson said.
Kelly represented the U19s and Ayre the U17s.
“They’ll definitely be bowling a lot of overs,” he said.
The pace will be led by Angus McNeill and Ben Neaves.
“Chris Holland will be handy for us (too),” he said.
Pearson himself will be one of their keys with the bat.
He’s been in good form of late and has been “hitting the ball well”.
But he’s not alone.
“Tom Irwin’s scoring 80s or 90s in Maitland,” he said.
Aaron Mahony’s also been among the runs.
They’ll make up the top three and were, along with Grant Stewart, Neaves and McNeill, involved in the Northern NSW Emus’ recent clashes against the touring Canterbury (New Zealand) side.
Neaves, McNeill, Pearson and Irwin also played for the zone senior side late last year.
That experience will come in handy this weekend.
“We definitely learnt a lot playing seniors this year,” Pearson said.
“Hopefully we can bring it back and spread it through the younger guys.”
There’s a few of those.
Five of the side – Kelly, Jackson Cox, Ayre, Rigby Vane-Wood and Holland – are stepping up from the U17s side that won the Country Championships last season.
They are seeded seventh and will have a challenging first-up assignment in last year’s runner-up,Southern.
The first day will be crucial and has been a bit of a stumbling block in recent years.
“It’s hurt us the last two or three, even just rain,” Pearson said.
Last year the first day was washed out and, after finishing in the lower part of the sides the year before, it ruled them out of semi- final contention.
“We have to put in a strong performance on the field on the first day,” Pearson said.
The forecast though isn’t looking that bright for the weekend.
There’s the possibility of showers today, and showers tomorrow and Monday.