BOTH Armidale and Tamworth are struggling to field teams for Sunday’s return to the Northern inland Cricket Council representative grounds.
Armidale hosts Tamworth in a big War Veterans Cup clash in Armidale while its second side is drawn to play Gunnedah in Gunnedah.
While unbeaten Tamworth heads to New England Mutual Armidale Sportsground on Sunday, its Second XI is drawn to play Glen Innes in Glen Innes.
“We might have to forfeit that,” said Tamworth selector Adam Jones.
“I didn’t realise we had to play a Connolly Cup game as well. We’re struggling as it is.”
Armidale selector Brad King was in exactly the same cricketing boat.
“We’re struggling for players,” King told The Leader while naming a WVC team to play a crucial fifth round match at home.
“Our seconds have got Gunnedah in Gunnedah. We’re a bit short and we’ll be a bit underdone. We haven’t played since December.”
The Armidale competition went for its regular Christmas break with a proposed T20 competition to have been up and running last week while the regular premiership competition had an extended break until February.
Postponing the T20 has left a longer than usual break and one which could severely affect the chances of the first and second XIs.
“As it is, we have Buts (Steve Butler), Woody (Cameron Wood), Dawso (Michael Dawson) and Shafe (Matt Schaefer) unavailable.
“So we won’t be strong for an important game against a side that has just come back from the Country Cup Final.” While Tamworth did play in that SCG Country Cup Final last Sunday, the disappointment of that seven wicket loss to Hamilton Wickham has been compounded by the arrival of the Country Music Festival.
“We have a few players unavailable because they are working at the festival,” Jones said.
He’s one. Simon Norvill and Nick Pearson another two.
Added to that regular skipper Tom Groth is unavailable after a huge Australian Country Cricket Championship in Adelaide where he was named in the Australian Country team.
James Psarakis is also in Adelaide with the NSW Under 17s and Emus Colts pair Angus McNeil and Jack McVey are unavailable.
We were hoping Jack might be home but he doesn’t get back until Sunday,” Jones said.
“Deklan Baker comes in for him.
“Unfortunately the side (from the SCG Country Cup Final) is pretty decimated. We’ll see how we go though. I’m pretty confident they’ll go well. It’s still a good side. Everyone we’ve picked has been performing well in local cricket.”
Gunnedah hosts winless Narrabri in the other WVC clash at Gunnedah’s Wolseley Park.
An MA Connolly Cup Inter Conference round is also being played Sunday with Gunnedah at home to Dumaresq Colts, Inverell hosting Moree and Tamworth playing Glen Innes in Glen Innes. Gwydir has the bye.
ARMIDALE: Andrew Brownlie (capt), Jared Graham, Dean Moore, Ben Welch, Hugh Reckord, Angus Reckord, Lochlan Elks, Matt Preston, Andrew Skinner, Karl Triebe, Sam Uphill, Scott Brennan.
TAMWORTH: Michael Rixon (capt), Adam Lole, Cal Rowe, Richie O’Halloran, Mitch Holt, Matt Everett, Leo Steyn, Stu Plant, Will Howard, Deklan Baker, Col Smyth.