IF LAST Sunday’s Tamworth Over 60 cricket trials are anything to go by, the two squads playing in the NSW regional championships will turn some heads next week in Armidale.
18 players turned up for the last hit-out before the championships start today, with two teams named to contest the title.
Tamworth Gold will be captained by former Australian over 60 rep Albie Barwick, whilst Tamworth Blue will be led by Ron Farrell.
Organiser and team selector David Head was impressed with the form of most of the players on the weekend, especially the express bowling of Rob Kahler, who incidentally smashed Head’s furniture after a wayward stroke.
“He is in top form – he was practically unplayable,” Head said afterwards.
Both teams had a good hit- out and everyone spent some quality time in the middle in the lead-up to the eight-team tournament.
Ian Kitchings is playing in his first year of the over 60s and bowled well straight up, even finding himself on a hat-trick at one stage.
Mike Cashman was welcomed back to the fold and put his new bat to good use.
“Mike batted in his usual style, playing plenty of great glides through the slips,” Head said.
Paul Finnis is also returning after a recuperative break and looked good with the willow, as did the boys from Walcha – Rob Laurie, George Lyon and Peter Boyd.
“Doug Crowell has returned at the tender age of 83 to take the crease for Blue, whilst three 55-year-old kids in Denby Budden, Terry Browne and Greg Kellett are in the sides to do the running,” Head said.
The two teams are on either side of the draw and, in a perfect world, would like to meet each other in the final.
“It is a strong competition and Tamworth always competes very well,” Head said.
“It is always played in the right spirit but is still very competitive.”
Lismore has recently completed a tour of New Zealand and should be very strong, as will the UNEX side, which is made up of ex-UNE students.
Renowned child psychologist Dr John Irvine will be lining up for the alumni side and is already in the mind of some players.
“Irvine is a master sledger and he loves it,” Head said.
“He gets in the mind of the opposition.”
The 40-over games start this morning. Every team will play one game a day with a rest day on Wednesday and the final on Friday.