COUNTRY wicketkeeper Tom Groth returns to the representative scene in Maitland this Sunday to lead Northern Inland against Hunter Valley in the annual McNamara Cup.
Groth missed Sunday’s opening War Veterans Cup round because of his brother’s wedding but the South Tamworth skipper is back to lead the Northern Inland side in the CNZ senior trial.
His long-time Tamworth teammate Adam Jones also missed Sunday’s WVC win over Gunnedah and returns to the senior representative side along with Old Boys allrounder Aaron Hazlewood.
Hazelwood will share the new ball with left-armer Col Smyth, Armidale’s Karl Triebe, Australian Country representative Andrew Maher and young South Tamworth paceman Angus McNeill.
North Tamworth import, Englishman Stuart Plant, has also forced his way into the NI side via his brilliant 7-8 to decimate Gunnedah in Sunday’s WVC clash.
Chasing Tamworth’s 4-348, Gunnedah was all out for 60, Plant bowling four maidens in his stunning 10-over stint.
His North Tamworth skipper Michael Rixon and clubmate Kris Halloran have also made the side along with young Bective skipper Nick Pearson.
Young Armidale top-order bat Michael Dawson rounds out the side.
Meanwhile, Tamworth selectors have named teenage wicketkeeper Matt Everett as skipper of the Tamworth Second XI to play Gwydir in a first- round MA Connolly Cup game in Tamworth on Sunday.
The newly-formed Gwydir team (based at Bingara) tackles Tamworth in a Western Conference game with Gunnedah at home to Moree in the other WC match.
In the Connolly Cup Eastern Conference, Armidale’s Dumaresq Colts have a first-round bye while Inverell and Glen Innes already played their Connolly Cup game earlier this month when it doubled as a Country Cup first-round match.
NORTHERN INLAND (Team to play Hunter Valley in Maitland on Sunday): Tom Groth capt, Michael Rixon, Adam Jones, Kris Halloran, Nick Pearson, Aaron Hazlewood, Stuart Plant, Col Smyth, Angus McNeill (Tamworth), Michael Dawson, Karl Triebe (Armidale), Andrew Maher (Moree).
TAMWORTH SECOND XI: Matt Everett (capt), Calum Rowe, Layne Berry, Matt Kent, Joey Holt, Corey Sommers, Hamish Batley, Mitch Holt, Richard Bullock, Will Chesterfield, Deklan Baker, Brad Redshaw. Any player unavailable should contact Adam Jones (0402 242087) or Don Lewington (0437 612222).