MATT Everett and James Psarakis swap their bats and gloves for a managerial clipboard in Tamworth today.
The two talented teenagers, fresh from a treble of State Under 19 trial wins in Sydney, are managing and coaching the North West Under 16s in this weekend’s Central North Invitational Shield.
Four teams from Northern Tablelands, Hunter Valley, Mid North Coast and North West will play in the Under 13, 14 and 16 age divisions over three days.
It is a pre-season carnival for a host of young players hoping for higher selections, Central North Zone chairman Terry Psarakis said.
“It is also a selection trial for our Central North boys for the Kookaburra Cup and Bradman Cup sides.
“We play St George in trial games at Cessnock next Thursday in Under 14 and 16 and all the boys from the Northern Tablelands, Hunter Valley and North West are eligible.
“That’s why the boys have to practise during the off-season.
“It’s too late to start now if they want to get into rep sides.
“Look at James and Matty. They’ve been training since June.”
The Central North Zone Kookaburra and Bradman Cup trials add an extra edge to the three games in the three age groups being played today, tomorrow and Monday.
Everett and Psarakis have been through that, both being members of Kookaburra Cup and Bradman Cup campaigns.
This week they were in Sydney, at Campbelltown’s Raby Oval playing for the combined Central North and North Coast Zones’ under 19s (Northern Stars) in State Under 19 trials against three other country and two city sides.
After the games, in which the Northern Stars won all three, Central North Zone had Psarakis selected in the Country team to play City at Blacktown in Sydney next Tuesday and Wednesday.
Everett missed out but he hadn’t been confident after little batting time in Sydney.
Northern Stars coach Jeff Cook said the young keeper, who captained the NSW CHS on its recent tour to England, didn’t have a chance to shine with the bat, while the wickets were low and slow and made keeping difficult.
“He hasn’t had much of a chance with the bat,” Cook said on Thursday morning as the Stars openers made it to 0-40.
“They haven’t had an opportunity to bat much at all down here.”
His Northern Stars went on to make 6-221 and Everett had just a few overs at the end to throw the bat.
The Stars then rolled the City Blackcats for 176 and a 45-run win to finish.
Unfortunately, Everett missed the Country Under 19s but he was delighted for his good friend Psarakis.
“He got a ton the other day,” he said of his coaching mate.
“He and the rest of the batsmen have done the job.”
Everett also got the job done on the recent NSW CHS tour of England.
He skippered that side.
“We won six of our 10 games,” he said.
“It was an awesome tour – a great experience.”
He did have the chance to bat a bit more over there and came home with 150 runs from five innings at an average of just over 30.
He had an unbeaten half century as well on tour where the young tourists also had the chance to watch the fourth day of the “Test at Trent Bridge”.
“We played well,” he said.
“We beat Scotland Under 19s in one game and lost the other to them.
“The other main game was against Lancashire.
“We lost by five runs.
“They scored 287 and we scored 282.
“That was probably the best game we played in all tour.”
This weekend though, he and Psarakis sit on the sideline and hope to advise and support the North West side to an Invitational Shield win.
“We’ve been involved the past few years helping coach with the Emerging Blues,” he said.
“Tony Meppem asked us if we would help out and we put our hands up.
“We’ve got a good bunch of young kids.
“I’ve played with or against most of them too.”