THE region’s biggest hitters will be on display over the January long weekend as the Northern Inland T20 competition is held in Armidale.
Whilst there was some concern over getting player commitment over that weekend, Armidale District Cricket president Mike Porter is confident they will come.
“It normally goes off pretty well and it should again this year,” Porter said.
So far, only a few teams have confirmed, although Porter is expecting the full eight sides.
Every zone in the Northern Inland should be represented, with Glen Innes, Gunnedah, Tamworth, Walcha, Inverell, Moree and Narrabri joining the hosts to see who has the best short game.
Organisers are unsure whether each region will send its representative side or the winners of each town’s own T20 competition.
Armidale’s T20 competition has already been postponed until February.
Gunnedah’s starts on January 10 and will be only two weeks in by the long weekend.
“Last year some associations sent a rep team and some sent the teams that had done well locally,” Porter said.
That system can lead to some very uneven games and is something that the committee will be looking at in the New Year.
“We will be ranking nominated teams and splitting the competition into two pools of four,” Porter said.
Each side will play two games on Saturday January 25, and then the third pool game on Sunday morning.
The pools will then cross over, with the finals played late on Sunday afternoon.
A full social function will also be held on Saturday night with details yet to be confirmed.
Prizemoney of $7500 is on offer and will ensure some action-packed games and big shots.
Meanwhile, The Albert Hotel and McDonald’s will play the January 10 McDonald’s Tamworth Twenty20 Final at No 1 Oval.
That was confirmed by Tamworth District Cricket Association cricket administrator Grahame Davies on Saturday morning after he completed his “Friday night homework”.
The Albert’s 49-run win over Halpin’s Plumbing in Friday’s final-round game at Dick Edwards Oval had enabled The Albert to draw level on competition points with Halpin’s Plumbing in second place.
Under competition rules, the side hitting the most sixes continues to the final.
The Albert’s skipper, Adam Jones, had checked before Friday night’s game and then reckoned after Friday night’s game his side was ahead 8-7.
“Jonesie was right,” Davies confirmed on Saturday.
“They did finish 8-7 ahead. Lucky they hit five sixes against Halpin’s Plumbing.
“And they will play McDonald’s in the January 10 T20 Final at No 1 Oval.
“Halpins and Steggles will play the early game (about 5pm) and the final will be the late game.
“It was also interesting to note how close the two sides (The Albert and Halpin’s Plumbing) finished in runs scored.
“One side scored 891 and the other 887,” Davies said.
While The Albert had to win its final two games to reach the January 10 T20 Final, competition leaders McDonald’s lost their final two games.
Steggles scored 6-219 in Friday night’s final round and then restricted McDonald’s to 160.
Ben Middlebrook was the star for Steggles.
While The Albert hit five sixes in its win over Halpin’s Plumbing on Dick Edwards Oval, Middlebrook hit nine himself in his 54-ball 113.
He also hit seven fours in his unconquered century.
McDonald’s allrounder Chris Skilton also lit up Riverside 2 when his side tried to chase down Steggles’ 219.
Skilton hit eight fours and a six in his 15-ball 43!