NORTHERN NSW Over 60 Cricket Carnival’s champions will be decided in Armidale today whilst Central North Zone Under 17s will be decided in Scone on Sunday.
In between those two competitions the region’s cricket competitions begin tomorrow in various forms at major centres Armidale, Inverell, Narrabri, Gunnedah and Tamworth.
Gunnedah begins its season tomorrow with first-round games also doubling as McDonagh Cup limited overs games.
Albion plays Court House (Wolseley Park) and Mornington tackles Kookaburras (Kitchener Park).
Narrabri’s season starts with Twenty20 games under the Collins Park lights tonight.
The association has not only added more Twenty20 games to the calendar this season but decided to split them over Friday and Saturday nights.
Golf Club and MAC will meet in the season opener tonight, with Tatts and RSL matching up in a grand final replay tomorrow night.
In Armidale there is a five-team first grade competition, with Guyra enjoying the first-round bye.
Hillgrove Colts and Easts match up at Armidale Sportsground while Armidale City plays Ex-Services at Lambert Park.
Easts have a special debutante – Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall.
Yesterday the MP was having a hit with Armidale/New England against UNEX in the Northern NSW Over 60s Carnival, retiring on 20.
“It was good fun,” Marshall said.
“I was helping out and massively under-aged but there are some very good players amongst them.
“Phil Allen must be 70 but has a beautiful technique and knocked them around easily for ones and twos.”
He was then asked to bat for UNEX as well and made 12 before being bowled going for a big hit.
Marshall is also delighted to resurrect his grade career with Easts in their Armidale season opener tomorrow.
“I haven’t played for about six years,” the former Gunnedah Courthouse Cricket Club allrounder said.
“I’ve had a few good net sessions and am looking forward to playing.”
Dean Moore will be Marshall’s skipper in a game against a Brad King-captained Hillgrove side.
Tamworth also starts its new season with limited-over games.
South Tamworth tackles North Tamworth at No 1 Oval in a grand final replay, Old Boys play Bective-East Bulls (Dick Edwards Oval) and West Tamworth and City United match up at Chaffey Park.
Central North Zone chairman Terry Psarakis said the start of the season has come quickly although it has been long preparation for some of the representative players.
While the NNSW Over 60s carnival has been scoring good runs in Armidale, the CNZ Under 17 trial in Scone on Sunday between Northern Inland and Hunter Valley councils is the first major representative game of the new season.
“From Sunday’s trial we will pick a Zone side to play in the Country Championships at Raymond Terrace on October 25/26/27,” Psarakis said.
“From those eight country zones we will pick a Country side to play City and then pick the NSW team.
“So everything gets into gear quickly.
“Hopefully, the boys have done enough work in the off-season to push their claims.”
After the 17s, the Bradman and Kookaburra Cup selection trials then flow.
“This weekend all the clubs start their competitions too,” Psarakis said.
“Here in Tamworth we have one-day games but still have the traditional two-day games as well.
“They’ll play five two-day games and 10 one-dayers this season.”
NORTHERN INLAND UNDER 17 (To play Hunter Valley Under 17 at Bill Rose Complex, Scone Sunday October 13): James Psarakis (capt), Lachlan Elks (vc), Campbell Baker, Jake Brayshaw, Sage Cook, Chris Coulton, Matt Dunn, Toby Fox, Braydon Graham, Ryan Hansen, Matt Hughes, Mitch Lennon.