St George gives teenage northern quartet a stage

FOUR young Central North Zone cricket stars – Hamish Batley, Riley Ayre, Matt Everett and James Psarakis – have been invited to play in a special St George Cricket Club Bradman versus O’Reilly match.

The four teenagers, who starred for Central North in last season’s maiden Bradman Cup win, have been invited to play in the annual club game at St George’s home ground, Hurstville Oval, next week.

The Wednesday, February 6 game is a 50 over-a-side match to celebrate the memory of their two greatest players, Sir Donald Bradman and Bill “Tiger” O’Reilly,  CNZ chairman Terry Psarakis said.

“It’s an annual match between players from the club as well as some invited players,” Psarakis said.

“This year they asked for four of our good young players and we were only too happy to elect Matty, Angus, Hamish and James. 

“It’s a chance for them to show their talents down therewith a club that has close links to us.

“They have been one of our sponsors for the past four seasons and we do play annual Under 14 and 16 games against St George teams at Cessnock. 

“They have been very good to us and understand that all the Central North players going to Sydney won’t necessarily go to them. 

“They hope they are in the running and considered.”

Already two of the CNZ’s best young players in the past few years, Blake Fitzgerald and Josh Hazlewood, have linked with St George.

“Blake was playing first grade until he got injured before Christmas,”Psarakis said.

“He’s back now but has had to come back through second grade.

“Josh has been out injured but is back playing now.

“He played first grade for St George on the weekend and took  three wickets too. 

“Hopefully he’s on the way back into the NSW and Australian sides.”

Psarakis said St George president, former Sports Minister Kevin Green, and club chief executive, John Jobson, had worked hard to make the St George-CNZ link a strong and lasting one.

“They go to the trouble of coming up to Cessnock every year to watch the juniors play,” Psarakis said.

“And it’s a great step for our young players as well. 

“They are keen to promote their club and the link between us and them. 

“They’ve been great that way.”

He said the game would be a great experience for the talented quartet.

16-year-old James Psarakis, who captained the CNZ 16s this season, is looking forward to the match.

“It’s going to be a great experience for us,” he  said.

“It will be a lot of fun to meet some new people as well and play some good cricket.”

He said it would be ironic for him and fast bowler McNeill as their South Tamworth side is locked in battle with  Everett’s Bective-East for a Tamworth One Day Final berth against  Batley’s competition-leading North Tamworth.

“We play Bective this Saturday,” Psarakis said.

“Hopefully we might be back at full strength if Skilts (Chris Skilton) is right. 

“Whoever wins plays North in the One Day Final. 

“Then we all go down and play together in the St George game.”

Everett, he said,was starting to blossom in his batting while being one of the best wicketkeepers, young or old, in the CNZ.

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