CENTRAL North takes a step towards defending its Country U17s Championship title when Northern Inland and Hunter Valley meet in the Baxter Trophy at Quirindi tomorrow.
The match is the main selection trial for the Central North U17s team and Northern Inland players are keen to put their name forward with a good showing against their mates from Hunter.
Northern Inland selector Graham Kent said there were a few players missing due to other commitments but that the trial match wasn’t the only avenue for players to make the CN side.
Unavailable players like James Psarakis and Max Houlahan, who are in Dubai with an Australian U16s side, will have a good case for selection in the CN 17s.
Hamish Batley is away at state athletics but will also be considered.
And Kent said Tamworth keeper-batsman Matt Everett makes a good case for selection because he is playing in the Tamworth War Veterans Cup side tomorrow.
Gunnedah’s Blake Small has also been named for Gunnedah for that game and will have to choose between that game and the U17s trial.
For everyone else, the trial is an important last chance to impress selectors.
Layne Berry and Ryan Hansen both opened for their Tamworth club sides last weekend and both achieved their best score in first grade, while fellow Tamworthians Toby Fox and Campbell Baker also showed good form in the recent Central North Invitational Carnival while playing with the North West U16s.
The bowling ranks also look good.
“Matt Dunn from Tamworth will be there,” Kent said.
“Mitch Lennon from Inverell played in the under 16s Central North Invitational side against St George and had a great game down there.
“Perry Stapleton is in the under 15s at the moment but was excellent at Cessnock so we’ve given him a go in the Northern Inland side.
“He goes up in age but he’s bowling really well.”
Ted Alderton is the other seamer and there will also be at least one spin option in Will Chesterfield.
With Small’s participation uncertain, selectors were also looking at Richard Wilson as a leg-spin option.
And due to Everett’s Tamworth duties, his wicket-keeping position will probably go to Campbell Baker and Lachlan Elks from Armidale may receive a call-up to the trial.