CENTRAL North Zone will take a “new- look” side to Newcastle for next month’s Country Championships, a team that CNZ officials see as a “changing of the guard”.
CNZ president Terry Psarakis believes while the side named under skipper Tom Groth is young, it is strong and will “perform” at Newcastle on November 16-18.
“It’s effectively a new side, a changing of the guard,” Psarakis said yesterday.
“I think they will perform well though.
“We have good young players and are a pretty strong side.
“I think Tommy (Groth), Mick Rixon and Angus McNeil might be the only ones left from last year’s CNZ side.”
Groth was named Country’s player of the season for last season in Tamworth earlier this year and has a big challenge to weld together a side that includes four Emus from last season’s Under 21 side that toured New Zealand.
Emu skipper Nick Pearson, Tom Irwin, Ben Neaves and Angus McNeil all toured to the South Island earlier this year and came away with some excellent results.
Pearson’s half century in last Sunday’s McNamara Cup CNZ trial in Gunnedah earned him a senior CNZ berth.
“It’s great having those four young Emus coming through,” Psarakis said.
“Nick did bat well in Gunnedah and Angus did bowl well too.”
McNeil is from Muswellbrook but plays his club cricket for South Tamworth in the NICU Tamworth first grade competition.
He will form part of a pace bowling attack with Neaves (Maitland) and Jon Shaw (Muswellbrook).
Maitland spinner Rob Whelden, who claimed 6-9 to rout Northern Inland’s middle and lower order in Sunday’s trial at Gunnedah with his chinamans, is the spinner while Greg Sheehan and Sam McHugh are the allrounders for a side which plays North Coast in its first-round match of the Country Championships on November 16.
Psarakis said what needs to be done now is to find a manager and coach for the side.
CENTRAL NORTH ZONE (to play Country Championships in Newcastle November 16/17/18): Tom Groth, capt (Tamworth), Tom Irwin (Maitland), Simon Norvill (Tamworth), Michael Rixon (Tamworth), Nick Pearson (Tamworth), Rob Whelden (Maitland), Lachlan Cameron (Narrabri), Greg Sheehan (Cessnock), Jon Shaw (Muswellbrook), Angus McNeil (Tamworth), Ben Neaves (Maitland), Sam McHugh (Tamworth).