IT already boasts arguably one of the best pace attacks in the competition but South Tamworth has added a NSW Country quick to its arsenal.
Last season’s runners-up have picked up former Hamilton-Wickham paceman Andrew Maher.
The Newcastle star and ACT Comets representative has moved to Moree.
“Grothy (Tom Groth) ran into him at the rugby about a month ago,” South captain Nick Leyden said.
Groth and Maher had played together for NSW Country.
Leyden said Maher wouldn’t be available every weekend but will play most of the two-dayers and the first two one-dayers.
Today is the first of those and will see South taking on defending champions North Tamworth in a grand final re-match at No.1 Oval.
Maher is a big pick-up.
“I’ve seen him bowl a couple of times,” Leyden said.
“Obviously he’s a pretty good bowler.”
His representative accolades attest to that. He’s been a regular fixture in the NSW Country side and has made the Australian Country merit side on at least one occasion.
Leyden likened him to around Angus McNeill’s pace, and said he bowls good line and length.
“He does a bit with the ball and gets good carry,” he said.
South already has a pretty handy frontline attack, with McNeill, Col Smyth and Jamie Hammond.
“It’s going to be pretty hard to juggle them,” Leyden said.
“They’re all good bowlers in their own right.”
They’ve also picked up Jake Brayshaw from Narrabri.
He’ll add to their spinning stocks and add something different with his chinamens.
The Redbacks made it a winning start to the season, taking out last weekend’s inaugural Big Bash and will be a good first-up challenge.
“It’ll be good,” Leyden said.
“Over the last few years we’ve developed a bit of a rivalry with North.”
That’s been helped by a few finals battles.
“It’d be nice to start the season off on the right foot,” he said.
Leyden is back after missing last season and will be one of their keys with the bat.
The bowlers will have a significant role to play with the bat too.
“Hammo is a better bat than a lot of people give him credit for,” Leyden said. “There’ll be a few opportunities for him.”
Even Smyth’s been hitting the ball pretty well in the nets, he said.
He would be happy with anything over 200.
His Redbacks counterpart Michael Rixon will be one of the big wickets.
Kris Halloran has also done pretty well against them in the past, Leyden said.
In the other games today, Old Boys face Bective-East at Dick Edwards Oval and West Tamworth and City United match up at Chaffey Park.
Armidale, Gunnedah and Narrabri also start their seasons this weekend.