Tamworth Blues are preparing for some tough cricket at this week’s Tamworth U14s Carnival.
The home side have drawn a tough pool for the carnival, which gets underway on Monday.
“We’ve got Manly in our first game which will be a tough one first up,” Peter Graham said.
Graham will be at the helm with Bede Maher this week with Maher’s usual coaching partner Peter Mead away on state duties. He’s coaching the NSW PSSA boys side in Canberra.
They have had a strong North West junior competition campaign so far with only the one loss. That was to fellow carnival contenders Armidale in Armidale.
“We didn’t bat really well that day but we bowled well,” Graham said.
They will be missing a couple of key players for the week.
“Obviously we’ve got Joey (Mead) and Oscar (Spinks) out which is a bit of a blow,” he said.
They’re playing for the Central North 14s at the Kookaburra Cup in Griffith.
Josh Attard and Ben Wallace come into the side for them and have both played in carnivals before. For five of the side though it will be their first carnival, and a good learning experience.
“It’ll be a pretty tough five days of cricket,” Graham said.
“But they’ll all come out a lot better cricketers.”
From what they have shown they should be at least competitive.
“The thing we’ll be looking to improve on over the carnival is our batting, and being patient with the bat,” he said.
“Unfortunately Oscar has probably been our best batsmen this year.”
Luke Maher and Lara Graham will open the batting and they’ll be looking to them to really get them off to a good start.
They will miss Mead with the ball, but do have plenty of bowling options.
“Bowling is our strength. Everyone bowls,” Graham said.
Bowling is our strength. Everyone bowlsPeter Graham
“We’ve got Will Burnett. He’s a tall fast bowler and opens the bowling.
“He bowls quick and has taken a few wickets and not had many runs scored off him.”
Brayden Reid meanwhile took five wickets in a recent game against Gunnedah.
Eight teams will contest the carnival, with Tamworth, Manly, Nambucca Bellingen and Hawkesbury lining up in Pool A and Lismore, West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook, Armidale and the Peel River Renegades in Pool B.
The Renegades are a composite team of Tamworth 12s, 13s and 14s players.
They play Lismore at Chaffey in their first game while WPHC do battle with Armidale at Riverside 5, Nambucca Bellingen take on Hawkesbury at Riverside 2 and the hosts face Manly at Riverside 1.