ARMIDALE might be playing Tamworth’s second XI, the Tamworth Blues, in Sunday’s second-round Country Shield clash in Tamworth but they’d better be prepared for a number one performance from the home side.
As it is, the Armidale side is missing two key players – Matthew Schaefer and Sam Uphill – while Englishman Paul Woodford Jnr, a recent addition, is also out.
Andrew Brownlie is back to lead the side, selector Brad King said.
He said Karl Triebe would spearhead a bowling attack that “is a little thin”.
“Andrew Skinner and Matt Morrow will help out there and we have three spinners – Steve Butler, Andrew Brownlie and Ben Welch.”
Triebe also deserved his spot in the Central North Zone side, he said.
“He puts the ball in good areas,” King said.
“He doesn’t move it around a great deal but just enough.”
While Armidale plays Tamworth Blues this Sunday, it then backs up to play the Tamworth side the following week in a War Veterans Cup when a number of the Tamworth players will be away with the CNZ side.
“We’ll only have Karl out, plus Matty Schaefer,” King said.
“Even still, Tamworth will be strong.”
Tamworth selector Adam Jones agrees.
“We seem to have 18 to 20 blokes this year all capable of playing in our first XI.
“That makes our second XI fairly strong, something we’ve probably had since Cookie (Jeff Cook) first came here five or six years ago,” Jones said.
“Even a few years ago we had 14 or 15 but we now have 18 or so easily able to play.
“You only have to look at the side we’ve picked to play in the Shield.
“Adam Lole has scored centuries in his last two first grade games.
“And Harrison Kelly has a mountain of talent.
“Cal Rowe scored 40 the other day and then 30 in the trial for Northern Inland against Hunter Valley and is now in the Central North Zone side.”
Tamworth selectors have named an exceptionally strong Tamworth Blues side to tackle Armidale at Tamworth’s No 1 Oval, with 17-year-old wicketkeeper Matt Everett to skipper the side.
Since leading the side to a Connolly Cup last season, he’s been to England as skipper of the NSW CHS side and matured again from last year, Jones said.
“He’s got a bit stronger this year, finding it easier to score.
“He’s now able to score a run a ball instead of a run every two balls last season.
“And you keep on forgetting he is 17. He’s also still got a load of improvement left in him.”
He’s not the only rising junior star either. Nick Blake is another along with the likes of opening bowler Jack McVey, who created such a fine impression in his representative matches last season.
Narrabri plays Gunnedah in the other Country Shield clash on Sunday.
The match, at Collins Park, Narrabri, doubles as a War Veterans Cup match.
The Central North Under 14 and 16 coaching camps will also be held in Tamworth on Saturday and Sunday.
Team to play Armidale in Round 2 Country Shield match at No 1 Oval on Sunday: Adam Lole, Harrison Kelly, Cal Rowe, Layne Berry, Matt Everett (capt), Richie O’Halloran, Nick Blake, Mitch Holt, Stuart Plante, Jack McVey, Simon Toyer, Angus McNeil. Any player unavailable should contact Adam Jones (0402 243087) or Don Lewington (0437 612222).
ARMIDALE: Andrew Brownlie (capt), Dean Moore, Josh Croft, Brad Smith, Ben Welch, Michael Dawson, Andrew Skinner, Matt Morrow, Matt Preston (wk), Karl Triebe, Steve Butler, Brayden Graham.