NEW faces abound when the fourth edition of the McDonald’s Tamworth Premier League Twenty 20 fires up early next month.
With a new franchise – Locomotive Hotel – new captains and a host of new players, the 2012 Tamworth T20 has an exciting dash of international flavour too.
Former England and New Zealand players Scott de Weymarn, Chris Bosshardt and Sam McHugh make their Tamworth T20 debuts in the four-team slogathon.
McHugh and Bosshardt, who both play for South Tamworth in the NICU Tamworth grade competition, were selected in the McDonald’s team by Maccas captain Ben Middlebrook and his manager, Len Holt, at Thursday’s selection night at Cricket House.
De Weymarn will suit up for Joblink Plus, snapped up by that franchise’s Phil Hood as the third pick behind young Australian gun James Psarakis and injured North Tamworth Redbacks allrounder Kris Halloran.
The big left-hander has plenty of talent and will be a big bonus for City United in this season’s first grade competition, City United stalwart Hood promised.
“He got a real good nut last week,” Hood said on Thursday night.
“He can bat and he can field.
“We haven’t seen the best of him yet.
“He’s played plenty of T20 in England and will be good for City and Joblink Plus.”
Halloran was an interested spectator at Thursday’s selection night and has been an interested spectator of the first two rounds of Tamworth cricket due to a shoulder injury.
He has been selected to play for the Redbacks in today’s start of the two-day matches but admits to being less than 100 percent.
“I can’t throw or bowl yet,” he said of the injured right wing.
“I can bat all right and probably field in the slips.”
Hood snared young bowlers Jade Thompson and Jake Philp for a side that also contains veteran left arm spinner Greg Kellett, who has been one of the prolific wicket-takers since the TPL started.
While Halloran has been battling a shoulder injury sustained in off-season rugby union, McDonald’s skipper Ben Middlebrook is also battling a shoulder injury sustained playing for Old Boys in last Saturday’s first grade loss to North Tamworth.
He had some encouraging news from his physiotherapist this week and the lanky Gunnedah allrounder hopes to be fit for not only this weekend’s Tamworth first grade competition but the November 2 opening of the TL.
He is more than happy with a side where his first few picks were explosive Old Boys allrounder Aaron Hazlewood, young left-arm allrounder Harrison Kelly and talented wicketkeeper-batsman Luke Fox.
“Aaron, Harrison and Luke all bat well and we’ve got some good hitters like Craig (Langenbaker), Grant (Sippel) and Dave Robinson,” he said.
“Dave hits the ball all right and scored a few against us last Saturday.
“Sam McHugh looks a good prospect too and should go all right (in both forms of cricket).”
Tim Kensell will skipper the Halpin Plumbing side and, with franchisee Matt Halpin and manager Andrew Stevenson, came up with a good all round side.
“It’s a good mixture of youth and experience,” Kensell said.
“We’ve got a few allrounders too.”
The likes of Josh Crowe and Mitch Holt have been early season performers with bat and ball for their South and North Tamworth clubs.
Joey Holt, Bryce Natty and Daniel Cunningham are young allrounders coming through, with experienced allrounders such as Kensell and Richard Rowlings to bolster a team where Doug Selems will be entertainment and refreshments manager while combining some deft late-order hitting with brilliant BBQ bashes.
That leaves newest franchise, Locomotive Hotel, run by cricket tragic Matty Zell, who is still celebrating the Melbourne win of his bonny little female galloper Cavalry Rose.
Michael Rixon will skipper the Loco with Don Lewington his manager.
Rixon’s first T20 pick was Dean Hoy, a proven big basher from previous T20s.
“He is a good T20 player,” the Country Under 21 batsman said.
“We’ve got some good hitters and good allrounders. Leo Steyn and Smithy (Josh Smith) are very handy.”
He also picked young bowlers Jarrard Abra and Ben Semmler high up to make some early breakthroughs in the T20 as well.
The 2012 T20 begins Friday, November 2 with the Locomotive Hotel playing McDonald’s and Joblink Plus lining up against Halpin Plumbing.
Games start at 5.15pm at Riverside.