The second round of the new Tamworth District Cricket season already has some great match-ups after premiers Old Boys, North Tamworth and Bective drew first blood last week.
The Old Boys backed up their good win over South Tamworth on Saturday with an opening round win in the Country plate after entering as a club side this season.
They will face West Tamworth at Riverside 1, and after Wests picked up two young stars from Inverell in Sage Cook and Tom Scoble, as well as a few others they could find themselves right in the mix this season.
At Chaffey Park Bective and North Tamworth will battle it out as both sides play to remain on top of the ladder early in the season, while at Riverside 2 South Tamworth will be looking to bounce back against a young City side led by new captain Brad Smith who blasted 164 not out in his Tamworth debut last week.
Bective skipper Adam Jones believes the competition will be a lot stronger this season with the players from other districts joning, specifically City and Wests.
“It is good to see those guys come in and strengthen the teams and the competition.”
“I think that anyone could beat anyone any week.”
“It is a strong comp this season.”
As Jones continues to bat down the order while recovering from a bicep injury he is confident that a young Bulls outfit can stay in the mix despite losing two strike bowlers.
Brad Jenkinson is unable to play this season due to work commitments, while Jake Everett also has other commitments, and to make matters worse James Haling suffered a broken cheekbone playing hockey that will see him miss three months.
“We have got a very young side which has given some good opportunities for the young guys to come through.”
Lachie Barton will again play in the top grade after the 15 year old held his own last week, while other young gun AJ Pretorious will return in the next few weeks.
Coming into this match the skipper hopes to target the wicket of Michael Rixon to contain the Redbacks attack, after Rixon stepped down from the captaincy this season as his brother Brendan to pick up the armband.
“We always have tough games against Norths,” Jones said.
“Mick (Rixon) is a lot more dangerous without the extra responsibilty – he will be the key.”
On Sunday the districts representative season will begin when Tamworth Blue play their first round of the Country Plate against Upper Hunter in Scone.
Jones has also been named in that side and will be an old head in a talented young side that could go deep into the statewide competition.
Tamworth Gold will begin their Country Cup campaign next week.