ARMIDALE will be without its skipper when it hosts Narrabri in a first round War Veterans Cup clash at Armidale Sportsground on Sunday.
While Gunnedah has a new skipper in James Mack for its clash with Tamworth at Gunnedah’s Wolseley Park on Sunday, Armidale will be led by Hillgrove allrounder Matt Schaefer when they begin their WVC campaign at home, said selector Brad King.
“Andrew Brownlie is away in New Zealand,” King said of the Armidale skipper.
“Matt Schaefer will lead the side against Narrabri. Then they’ll swap for the next game against Tamworth as Matty will be away but Andrew will be back.”
While Brownlie is missing, the Armidale selectors have come up with a strong side including English import Ben Welch, who took three wickets on debut for his new club side Easts on the weekend.
Welch claimed 3-65 from his 11 overs and also opened the batting, smacking a solid 35 in an opening stand of 78 with Dean Moore before being caught and bowled by Schaefer.
Easts lost the game by 131 runs after Hillgrove made 6-294 and East replied with 163. King, who captains reigning premiers Hillgrove, thought Welch looked promising.
“He looked pretty solid batting and bowled well too,” King said.
However, the star was left handed opening bat Michael Dawson.
“He did bat very well,” King said of the teenager’s 103.
“I cant’ remember him giving a chance.”
Dawson and Hillgrove keeper, Josh Croft, (43) put on an opening stand of 92 to give Hillgrove the start it wanted.
Both openers have been named in the Armidale side for Sunday’s WVC clash although Croft will play as a batsmen with Easts’ keeper Matt Preston to take the gloves.
The only uncertainty at this stage is the availability of Hillgrove allrounder Mitch Moore.
“He only bowled 1.3 overs for us on Saturday,” King said.
“He did a rib cartilage. He was a bit tender at training early in the week but then bowled okay on the Thursday before Saturday’s game.”
He said Moore’s allround abilities gave the side strength and options in both batting and bowling.
“He might even just play as a batsman yet,” King said.
“We’ll see what happens during the week.”