The only way is up for North West boys at state titles

NORTH West will be looking to improve on its 12th finish last year when it pads up in this week’s State PSSA Boys Cricket Championships.

The carnival gets underway today at The Entrance and will start with a bit of a local derby for the North West boys.

They’ve got Polding first-up. 

The Catholic side has St Edwards’ Noah Pitt, St Philomena’s Moree’s John Montgomery and St Xavier’s Gunnedah’s Caleb McIlveen playing for it.

Peter Mead is looking after the North West side.

He’s only got two players backing up from last year’s campaign in captain Liam Rodgers (Rowena) and vice-captain Adam McGuirk (Gunnedah South), but likes the look of the side.

“They’ve been training exceptionally hard,” Mead said. 

The side is drawn from right across the region, with nine different schools supplying players.

It is a fairly young side though, with a few only turning 11 this year, Mead said.

He said the goal was to better last year’s finish.

“To do that we need to be able to hit the ball a bit harder to pierce the field, and hit the singles and rotate the strike,” he said.

They’ve got a batting order capable of doing that, and he’ll be looking to the top order to soak up a lot of the 50 overs.

If they can do that, that will give the guys who can really hit the opportunity to play a bit more attacking.

“There’s a couple of kids who can hit the ball,” Mead said.

He said the batting was pretty strong and probably a bit more flexible than last year.

“We bat all the way down to 12,” he said.

“Everyone can bat.”

McGuirk and Jye Saxby (Ben Venue) will open.

Tom Woodham and Rodgers will also figure in the top order.

One of the youngest in the side is Coonabarabran Public’s Darcy Clifton.

He’s only turning 11 but is a “big strong lad”.

“I’ll be looking to him to hit the ball hard in the middle overs,” Mead said.

Toby Smith (Timbumburi) is also looking strong and Mead will be looking to him to play his shots. 

The bowling attack looks pretty handy too.

They are probably lacking a bit of genuine pace but, if they can bowl at the stumps, that should compensate for that.

“There’s some good bowling stock there,” Mead said.

“We’ve got some players who can move the ball.”

Hopefully they’ll be able to exploit that in the expected humid conditions.

“And we’ve got a great off-spinner in Nick Page (Rocky River),” he said.

“He’s really worked hard.”

He said every time he sees him he’s improved.

Joey Mead (Tamworth South) will spearhead the attack. He’s been opening for the Tamworth 12 Blues and doing well.

He’ll be backed up by Leo Schmude (Ben Venue), Zenden Grieves (Ben Venue) and Lachlan Butler (Timbumburi).

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