NSW Country chases a first ever trio of successive Commbank Australian Country Cricket Championship wins in Canberra over the next two weeks as a cricket bonanza begins across the state and in New Zealand for rising stars.
In Canberra the national country cricket championships begin tomorrow with NSW Country up against Victoria Country in their first game.
NSW has won the past two titles and is hoping to become the fist state to win three in succession.
NSW coach Glenn Rowlands said the NSW side had a tough start, playing Victorian Country first up.
“They beat us in Geelong two years ago and we beat them in the last game in Bundaberg last year.”
Tamworth skipper Tom Groth is the NSW wicketkeeper and representing Country for a sixth year.
Yesterday the NSW Under 21 Emu Colts flew out of Sydney for Christchurch and a two-week tour of the Shaky Isles.
Former NSW and Queensland first class top order bat Peter Clifford is the coach and he’s looking forward to a trip he first went on as a young 16-year-old cricketer from Bellingen.
Also, the Boomerang Trophy has been re-constituted, the two day “Test” to be played at Rangiora on January 16/17 as the fitting finale to the seven-match tour.
The Emus play their first game of the tour at Wesport today with a 50-over-a-side game against Buller.
Closer to home are four junior carnivals.
In Armidale the Walter Taylor Shield has eight teams competing in the Under 15 carnival from today.
The final of that carnival is played Thursday.
In Tamworth the annual Tamworth Under 14 Invitational Carnival begins this morning with six teams.
It starts with two T20 games at Riverside.
Over on the coast the Lismore Under 12 Carnival and Ballina Under 13 Carnival are also being held with Tamworth’s Under 12 and 13 sides contesting both.
To cap it all off is the Bradman Cup, NSW Country Under 16 Championship and Central North Zone is hosting that championship at Singleton and Maitland from today.
The home side plays Central Coast today at Howe Park, Singleton while North Coast and Western also play in Singleton (James Cook Park 1).
Illawarra and Newcastle match up at Robins Oval, Maitland while Southern and Riverina play their first round game at Lorn Park, Maitland.
CNZ chairman, Terry Psarakis said it was not only a prestigious carnival to win, but it also started the talent identification process for the NSW Under 17 side.
“So if their team isn’t going so well there’s still plenty to play for,” Terry Psarakis said.
He also expected CNZ to be more than competitive.
“We do have a good side and have five of the side who played in our Under 17 side that won their Country Championship.”
James Psarakis captained that CNZ Under 17 side and has made the NSW Under 17 side to contest the National Championships starting next week.
“I expect Illawarra to be very hard though,” Terry Psarakis sid.
“They won last year’s Bradman Cup and have half a dozen of that side returning.”
CENTRAL NORTH ZONE BRADMAN CUP SIDE: Brandon Smith (capt), Matt Hughes, Jayden Muddle, Sage Cook, Chris Duffie, Jamie Krake, Lochlan Elks, Ryan Meppem, Pat Magann, Lachlan Davidson, Tom Scobie and Cal Sargent. Coaches – Graham Kent, Tony Meppem and Barry Smith.
EMUS TEAM: Tom Irwin, Drew Olsen, Michael Rees, Trent Dierick, Michael Dawson, Ben McMahon, Darren Bourke, Cameron Ross, Jack McVey, Brian Warren, Angus McNeil, Nathan Essex. Coach – Peter Clifford, Manager – Warwick Glaves.
NSW COUNTRY: Graeme Batty (Captain – Illawarra), Scott Burkinshaw (Central Coast), Jonathan Cook (Illawarra), Tim Cox (Western), Nick Foster (Newcastle), Jeff Goninan (Newcastle), Tom Groth (Central Northern), Greg Hunt (Newcastle), Joe Kershaw (Western), Mark Littlewood (Newcastle), Blair Lindsay (Central Coast), Pat Rosser (Western) and Dale Scifleet (Illawarra). The team officials are Glenn Rowlands (Coach – Central Coast), Ron Hancock (Manager – Newcastle) and Matt Whalan (Physio – Illawarra).