TAMWORTH has hit back at critics who have slammed it for forfeiting two grades of representative cricket a fortnight ago as it prepares for the final round of the War Veterans Cup against Narrabri.
Two weeks ago Tamworth forfeited to Armidale in the War Veterans Cup and, in doing so, denied Gunnedah a chance of making the final.
In the Connolly Cup, the forfeit handed Glen Innes its only win for the season but has made Tamworth very vulnerable approaching the finals.
Tamworth selector Adam Jones has hit out at Gunnedah and Armidale for suggesting that the forfeit showed complacency and a lack of respect for the competition.
“Gunnedah have very short memories,” Jones said.
“They postponed a game with Narrabri because of the harvest.
“Country Music Week is the same for us – three quarters of the guys had to work.”
Tamworth did ask both Armidale and Glen Innes to postpone the game to a later date but were denied.
“We asked them to postpone but the teams rejected it and took the easy points.
“It wasn’t an easy decision for us but it was the only option – we just didn’t have the players.”
Out of the usual Tamworth squad of about 25 players, over 20 of were unavailable.
Tamworth also had five top grade players away on representative duties, and a long list of injured players.
“We did everything we could and rang around for players,” Jones said.
“We are not going to call up 14 and 15-year-olds and third and fourth graders to play top- level cricket.”
“It can destroy their confidence and they can leave the game for good.
“After we put 500 runs on Gunnedah earlier in the year I could see the young blokes hating the game.
“We don’t want to do that and we can’t pull players out of thin air.”
Tamworthis still feeling the effects of being short, with Adam Lole dropping back to seconds, and first grade playing with the bare 11.
Tamworth will take on Narrabri at Collins Park tomorrow and is expecting Narrabri to come out swinging.
“It is their last game of the season so they will be looking for a win,” Jones said.
“We have to respect them and stick to our normal game.”
In the other game, a fired-up Gunnedah will host an Armidale side keen to prove it belongs in the final.