South Tamworth colt faces friendly fire at national titles

JAMES Psarakis will have some former junior cricket teammates to play against when he continues his cricketing education for NSW  in Adelaide on Monday.

The talented 17-year-old isn’t the only teenage South Tamworth Cricket Club player at the national Under 17  titles.

Moree’s Max Houlahan, who played with South last season, is in the Queensland side after moving north last year to continue his schooling.

Another former South Tamworth junior, Sam Yabsley, is also in the Queensland team.

Yabsley played all his junior cricket with the South Tamworth club and Psarakis recalls they did play a season of representative cricket together in the  Tamworth Under 12s a few years back.

To have three South Tamworth players at a national title is an amazing effort for a small country club but it’s something the club does pride itself on.

Right back to former junior Michael Kilborn playing for Oxford University and then in English county cricket.

Then there has been the likes of Terry Browne and Matt Pearson playing for NSW Country together against the West Indies in the same year and, more recently, Erin Osborne’s rise to Australian status with the Southern Stars.

She is currently playing the First Ashes Test against England in Perth.

Also away at the moment is South captainTom Groth. 

He’s playing for NSW Country in the Commbank Australian Country Cricket Championships in Canberra while young opening bowler, Angus McNeill, is in New Zealand with the Northern NSW Under 21 Emu Colts.

It’s a fine effort from the South Tamworth club.

And also a fine effort from  Psarakis, not only to have earned a berth in the NSW Under 17 side but also to play today’s first grade match against West Tamworth.

Last night he was a key player in the Tamworth T20 Final for his McDonald’s side against The Albert Hotel.

Today he turns out for his club side at Dick Edwards Oval missing three of their stars (Groth, McNeill and Col Smyth) but will have to leave the game at around 5pm to make a flight to Sydney.

From there he flies to Adelaide tomorrow.

While committed to playing both games, Psarakis isn’t real sure he’s doing the right thing, whether the last-minute hits will be good for his two weeks of national championship.

“I’ve had plenty of cricket lately,” he said.

“I played a two-day game (with NSW) this week. 

“We beat ACT. They got 290 and we got them four down.”

Psarakis remained “30-odd not out”.

“That was good. 

“Bailey Magill scored 160 for us. He can play.”

He said he would  be  “batting six and won’t bowl in this team”.

“It should be great, playing that standard, playing on some good grounds and playing a two-week carnival. 

“I’ve never played one of those before.”

He said adapting to the conditions, both the local wickets and then the expected heat next week, would  be a challenge.

But then he’s a young man who thrives on challenges.

“I’ve been working hard for this. It’s been my main aim.”

After that, he’ll return to Tamworth, winning  a first grade premiership for  South Tamworth his main focus.

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