Easy kill has Tamworth ready for Country Cup clash

TAMWORTH warmed up for its SCG Country Cup opener against Coffs Harbour with a fourth War Veterans Cup thumping from as many games on Sunday.

This time it was Gunnedah on the receiving end, and not for the first time.

The two met back in the first round with Tamworth victorious then by 288 runs.

On Sunday it was 371 runs after hammering 5-493 and then rattling Gunnedah for 121.

It’s the biggest total anyone could recall Tamworth scoring and the perfect lead-in to its clash with Coffs on Sunday, which will be to qualify for the finals carnival.

Openers Michael Rixon and Simon Norvill provided the launching pad for the huge total with a 122-run opening stand.

“Once you get a start like that and on this wicket that sets you up for the rest of the game,” Tamworth skipper Tom Groth said.

He’ll be hoping they can repeat that against Coffs.

“They are a massive part of our team those two blokes,” he said.

“Getting us off to a flyer gives us that platform.”

It allows the blokes in the middle order to come in and hit, as happened on Sunday, although Norvill and Rixon provided plenty of fireworks themselves.

Norvill faced just 39 balls for his 77 and smacked 13 fours and two sixes, while Rixon belted three sixes and nine fours in his 112-ball 135.

It was a constant bombardment with Kris Halloran plundering 96 from just 58-balls and striking six sixes and six fours, Aaron Hazlewood 35no from 10 and James Psarakis 84no off 26.

That was after bringing up his 50 off just 20 balls.

It was brilliant to watch with Psarakis dispatching eight sixes and four fours in his brief, but damaging stay.

“He’s in great form, and he hits the ball as clean as anyone,” Groth said.

Groth was delighted with what he saw with only Calum Rowe missing out.

“The wicket was really good and they played their shots and it came off,” he said.

He said at the start of the innings they were looking at 300 as a good target.

They had that by the 38th over.

As impressive as the batting effort was though, the way they went about things in the field was equally as pleasing for Groth.

“Regardless of how many we had on the board, we wanted to put a good performance in the field,” he said.

“We did that.

It would have been easy to take it easy with such a big score on the board.

But they didn’t with Tamworth quicks Col Smyth (3-26), Jack McVey (3-27) and Hazlewood (3-13) tearing through the Gunnedah order.

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