TAMWORTH has won its way to a fifth SCG Country Cup Final but will be missing four of its key players – including skipper Tom Groth – for the Sunday, January 12 Cup decider against four-time winner Hamilton Wickham.
Groth will be away with the NSW Country side playing in the Australian Country Cricket Championships in Canberra.
They start next Monday and run through to January 14
Also missing, if the Country Cup Final is played January 12, will be State Under 17 allrounder James Psarakis and NNSW Emus Colts Angus McNeill and Jack McVey.
McNeill and McVey leave this Sunday (January 5) for a two week tour of New Zealand’s South Island with the Emus while Psarakis will be in Adelaide with his NSW Under 17 side playing in the Australian under 17 Championships.
Psarakis was also forced to miss Sunday’s 47-run SCG Country Cup semi final win over Lake Illawarra to train with his NSW Under 17 teammates in Sydney.
Tom Groth is deeply disappointed by the clashes, which will force the quartet out of the chance to play at the iconic SCG.
“I had a bit of a chat with Bruce Whitehouse about it,” he said of the Country Cricket NSW executive officer.
“But it looks like there is nothing we can do about it.
“We’re not happy about it.”
Groth said it’s not as if the four players “have weddings or other engagements”.
“We’re all playing higher rep duties,” he said.
“But it appears he can do nothing about it.”
Losing the skipper, two opening bowlers and a key spinning-allrounder is a major blow for any side, yet Groth believes there is still plenty of talent and experience left in the ranks to compensate.
“We do have some players to come in,” he said.
He is hopeful former Australian Country paceman Andrew Maher might be available while top order bat Kris Halloran was forced to miss the weekend’s quarter and semi finals on the South Coast due to family commitments.
Tamworth has played at the SCG in four SCG Country Cup Finals, losing its first two but winning its most recent two.
Dynamic top order batsman, Adam Jones, who scored a match-winning century in Sunday’s semi final win over Lake Illawarra said the belief in the side was enormous after two morale boosting wins.
The advent of Twenty20 cricket and arrival of former English County allrounder Jeff Cook helped galvanise the game in the city.
“Cooky made us more professional and made us believe in ourselves,” he said.
“We still do.”